Zanu (PF) minister implicated in theft of Harare land

Zanu (PF) officials continue to act with impunity in the ongoing illegal seizures of land in Zimbabwe, with a newly sworn in government minister implicated in the latest theft of a property in Harare.

Ignatius Chombo, sworn in once again as the Local Government Minister, has been named as one of the instigators of the land theft, according to the legal owner of the property.

Bryan Rogers, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the Minister is parceling out his property into saleable plots of land, by arguing that the land “hasn’t been allocated.” This development is the latest in a decade long fight that Rogers has been subject to, with Zanu (PF) linked individuals fighting over the land.

Rogers, who left Zimbabwe in 2005 after 28 years living in the country, explained that he bought the property in 1996 after it was advertised for sale in the Herald newspaper. He said the 61.8 acre plot in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb was meant to be secure from the government seizures of farms and other land, which began in 2000, because it was in a ‘municipal boundary’.

In 2003, Rogers moved off the property that he had invested thousands of dollars in, after being warned that “someone in power” wanted the property and was going to invade. The property was then rented out, but that did not stop a Zanu (PF) linked man named Gift Misheck Mangwende from invading the property.

Rogers explained that he was forced to seek legal intervention and finally managed to secure a High Court order for the land invader to leave. This eventually happened, but a significant amount of damage was left behind.

The original tenant then moved back in, but a year later the same man invaded the property again. Another High Court order was secured ordering the invader to vacate the premises. But according to Rogers, Mangwende, with a gang of 150 youths, chased away the Sheriff of the Court and openly defied the High Court order.

Another incident involving Mangwende was also reported, and the situation culminated in the publication last year of a Government Gazette that ordered the ‘compulsory acquisition’ of the property. The beneficiary was named as the original land invader, Mangwende, who then occupied the property last September.

Mangwende, according to Rogers, has now signed an agreement with Minister Chombo for the property to be sectioned off for sale, and the plots have been advertised.

“Basically someone just wants to steal this place. It’s all just a total disaster,” Rogers said.

Rogers, who lives in the UK and has been trying to get compensation for the stolen land, said that he was advised that approaching Zimbabwe’s courts would be a waste of time, “because they are all Zanu (PF) and will rule in favour of Zanu (PF), because they’re all big mates together.” – SW Radio Africa

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