Polygamous man, family camp at DA’s office

A POLYGAMOUS Manicaland villager, Philemon Johwani Kambeni, who in 2011 was relocated to Arda Transau together with his 14 wives and over 1 000 other villagers to allow for diamond mining operations at Chiadzwa, yesterday dumped his large family at Mutare district administrator (DA) Cosmas Chiringa’s office protesting government’s failure to provide him with adequate accommodation.

BY CLAYTON MASEKESA

Kambeni brought with him nine wives and six children and by mid-morning his wives could be seen feeding their
children on cold tea and ill-prepared porridge after they were barred from cooking their food at the premises.

The family has vowed to stay put at the DA’s office until their grievances have been addressed.

“I have been trying to make follow-ups, but nothing concrete came up until I decided that we come and camp here. Right now, I am waiting to see what they will do with my plight,” Kambeni said.

One of Kambeni’s wives, Lucia, added: “We came here early in the morning and we are not going anywhere until we are given somewhere to stay. We are not going to Arda Transau until we are given somewhere decent to stay. We are going to pitch up tents here. We deserve to be treated well. We are going nowhere until the DA gives us houses.”

Kambeni clashed with government and Anjin Investments after he was allocated an eight-bedroomed house for his entire family of 14 wives and over 60 children.

He turned down the offer, demanding a separate bedroom for each of his wives.

In August last year, Chiringa promised to organise alternative accommodation for Kambeni’s other wives, but has not yet done so.
In October, teachers at Chirasika Primary School were up in against the polygamist after the latter had occupied several teachers’ houses without their consent.

A week earlier, he had pitched tents for his family at the teachers’ cottages.

Contacted for comment, Chiringa said: “This is an issue that we are discussing right now. At the moment, I cannot give you our position, but I have already brought the matter to the attention of the PA (provincial administrator). I think the PA will be in a better position to give you much information regarding that.”

Efforts to contact Manicaland PA Fungai Mbetsa were fruitless as he was said to be out of office, while his mobile number was unreachable.

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