BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Businessman-turned-politician Gilbert Muponda has threatened to take Harare City Council (HCC) to the High Court if it fails to clarify ownership of the land which he bought for $2 million and built a school.
The threat came following reports that the local authority wanted to demolish his school in Belvedere at stand number 18012, Harare, claiming that it was built on council land.
In October 2017, Muponda was advised by the City of Harare that he had settled on council land without either a lease or permission to settle, but he then advised the local authority that the land belonged to him.
HCC then responded, saying they were investigating the matter and made no updates on the matter.
In his letter to council, Muponda said he was shocked to hear that HCC had named his school as one of the many properties to be demolished.
“Our client is shocked that the City of Harare now uses the print media to communicate with its stakeholders,” the letter from Muponda’s lawyers, Sengwe Law Chambers, read.
“This is despite the full knowledge that every communication pertaining Muponda should be addressed to us. May we be formally furnished in the shortest possible time any queries and objections which council might have on the developments made by our client.”
Muponda said he bought the land in question from City of Harare for $2 million and is registered under title deed number 150/1997, which he showed to council officials.
The lawyers added: “This is a violation of our client’s constitutional rights and we register our displeasure in such conduct.”
Muponda said it came to his attention that HCC had expropriated the land and allocated it to surrounding residents in Belvedere for urban farming.
The businessman said HCC had not obtained a court order for an eviction process or had it been granted any order to demolish his property, and any threat to demolish without the court order would not only be illegal, but unconstitutional.
Attached to the letter was a copy of the title deeds as well as an environmental impact assessment report by the Environmental Management Agency dated July 7, 1997.