GOVERNMENT and the Harare City Council have been taken to court by members of the Kubatana Arts and Craft Centre Co-operative, who are contesting the seizure of their land for development of a regional museum, the Museum of African Liberation.
BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
This comes as the local authority demolished Westview Baptist Church buildings in Warren Park on Monday to pave way for the project.
Last week, the city council cancelled its agreement of sale with Kubatana Arts and Craft Centre, saying the land had been earmarked for the museum whose ground-breaking ceremony is set for December 3.
In its court challenge, the craft centre cited Local Government minister July Moyo, police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, City of Harare and Institute of African Knowledge as respondents.
In the urgent chamber application filed through its lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe, the craft centre said it was seeking an order to declare the cancellation of the agreement of sale unlawful.
It is also seeking a prohibition order to stop its eviction from the stand.
Kubatana Arts and Craft Centre Co-operative chairperson Gideon Chidongo said they purchased stand number 5797 Warren Park Township from City of Harare on June 25, 1992 and paid for it in full.
“Sometime in 2005, the third, fourth and fifth respondents attempted to evict the applicant from its premises under Operation Murambatsvina. The applicant was granted a court order in its favour interdicting the third, fourth and fifth respondents from evicting the applicant. Further, the court order declared that the applicant had the right to occupy the stand in Warren Park.
“On November 9, 2020, the third respondent, through its acting finance director, wrote to the applicant informing it that the sale agreement had been cancelled to pave way for national development,” the founding affidavit read.
He said there were no provisions in the law for cancellation of an agreement of sale on the basis of national development as had been done by City of Harare.
“On the 13th of November, the second respondent moved onto the premises of the applicant at the instruction of the first respondent and started cutting down indigenonus trees planted by the applicant in 1979 when it first occupied the premises, upon inquiry the second responded indicated that it had been contracted by what he called ‘higher offices’ to cut down trees. A report was made to the fifth respondent who stopped the second respondent from cutting down trees,” Chidongo said.