A JOINT security services operation on Sunday evicted scores of Zanu PF youths who had invaded an 82 hectares Anglican Church plot in Chitungwiza between St Mary’s Police Station and Chikwanha shopping centre.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The youths have been parcelling out the church land into an unplanned settlement in the sprawling dormitory town despite a High Court order interdicting them from illegally and forcibly taking over the church property.
Witnesses confirmed the running battles at the plot when a joint police/military operation drove out the party youths and those illegally resettled on the stands.
“The police and military officers came around 8am and rounded up all the people who were on the land questioning who had authorised them to settle on the church land before they assaulted some of the youths with baton sticks,” Chris Moyo, a resident, said.
Another witness James Magombo said: “The military were in a no-nonsense mood and violently drove out the youths from the land, reminding them not to abuse President Robert Mugabe’s name in their nefarious activities.”
The land yesterday was deserted with some foundations and partially built houses standing forlornly in the open space.
The move could be the police implementing the High Court interdict order against the youths to occupy and build on the church land.
The church at one point was forced to write to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa seeking his intervention in the impasse.
The youths had gone to the extent of disrupting church services at the Anglican Church in St Mary’s.
The church is still to meet Mnangagwa and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to find a lasting solution on the matter.
At some point, the church ownership wrangle with excommunicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga fuelled the parcelling out of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) land in Harare Diocese. The matter was only brought to a stop when the Supreme Court ruled Kunonga was not the legitimate leader of the church.
A former Zanu PF councillor Retired Major Brighton Chirongwe has previously tried to develop a 200 residential stand estate on the same land, but was foiled by the CPCA legal challenge.
Chirongwe’s Chirox Properties had lodged its designs with the Department of Physical Planning after getting the nod from Chitungwiza Municipality.