Makandiwa gives reprieve to squatters

Emmanuel Makandiwa

UNITED Family International Church (UFIC) founder, Emmanuel Makandiwa, has given a reprieve to illegal settlers on a piece of land in Retreat, Harare South, belonging to his church congregants.

On September 19 2022, under case no HC3515/21, UFIC secured a court order to demolish about 300 illegal structures which were built on the piece of land secured by its congregants for a housing scheme, Operation Nehemiah Housing Project.

The squatters were supposed to be evicted within 48 hours from November 21 when they were served with an eviction order.

The notice also gave the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court powers to demolish any illegal structure on the piece of land, measuring 35 hectares.

But Makandiwa intervened and halted the evictions and demolitions citing the need to give the settlers ample time to remove the structures on their own and salvage whatever they could to minimise losses.

Makandiwa also cited the rainy season as the reason why he decided to stay the evictions for now, FIC spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufa said.

“The Man of God implored us to consider the plight of the affected families notwithstanding the fact that they are illegal settlers,” Kufa said.

“He instructed us to ask the Sheriff to give the settlers time to pull down their structures and rescue their belongings. He said he is touched by their situation and also felt the anxiety among our church members who are bonafide owners of the land, thus his bid to find a win-win solution.”

Pastor Kufa added: "Look, it is the rainy season, it's really a difficult situation but the Prophet believes the temporary reprieve will give the settlers some time to find alternative accommodation".  

In separate interviews, the settlers said they were grateful for Makandiwa’s intervention and his decision to give them time to relocate.

They said they appreciate that they are illegal settlers and are grateful that Makandiwa considered their plight and desperation.

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