Rainy woes for evicted families

Evicted families from the Zano Remba Housing Co-operative are taking refuge with friends and relatives’ homes as the rainy season takes its toll.

Some of the families told The Zimbabwean that the co-operative patron Christopher Chigumba, who is also Chitungwiza South legislator, had already allocated their stands to new homeowners who were allegedly hiring bouncers to evict them following the publishing of their story in a local daily.

“The evictions are now being done secretly because since the matter came to light a couple of weeks ago, there has been negative publicity for Chigumba,” said one woman who refused to be identified for fear of victimisation.

Chigumba denied any involvement. “Evictions are done using court orders and the messenger of court and the police play their part when people refuse to comply. I have never issued any directive towards that cause. The issue is being investigated by the ministry and there is no point discussing it through the media,” he said.

Zanu (PF) spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said the party was yet to be furnished with details of findings by the team, led by local government minister Ignatius Chombo, mandated with investigating circumstances surrounding the evictions.

Efforts to get a comment from Chombo or his deputy, Joel Biggie Matiza on their findings regarding the issue were futile. Zano Remba Housing Co- operative was allocated more than 1,000 housing stands months ahead of the crucial 2005 general elections.

Chitungwiza Municipality was reportedly ordered to surrender the stands to Chigumba, who parcelled them out to Zanu (PF) supporters, a move that was described as a vote buying ploy by the party. It was reported that a letter dated January 27 2005, addressed to Chitungwiza executive mayor Misheck Shoko and the then Harare Resident Minister, Witness Mangwende, ordered the local authority to allow the co-operative to construct houses on council land.

Chigumba is reportedly evicting some of the beneficiaries nine years later arguing that their contributions, which were subscribed in Zimbabwean dollars, were not enough. He allegedly demanded $5,000 cash more from each beneficiary in addition to what they contributed over the years.

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