Kingsdale residents clash with Chombo

Desperate residents throughout the country continue to battle various municipalities, politicians and businessmen for a place to live. The latest conflict is in Kingsdale suburb here, where Local government minister Ignatius Chombo has come under fire for issuing orders that are causing conflict between residents and the landlord.

A tuckshop at Kingsdale in Norton
A tuckshop at Kingsdale in Norton

Kingsdale is a housing cooperative with over 1,500 members, mainly Zanu (PF) supporters, on Neil Farm. It signed a memorandum of understanding with Cuthbert Mpame, the new “owner” of the 161 hectare farm last year.

In 2010 Chombo, as the party’s politburo secretary of lands, ordered the local district administrator to facilitate a permit for the cooperative to occupy the farm. But last year government and the cooperative were given a writ of eviction by the Constitutional Court for wrongfully acquiring a privately-owned farm.

Mpame through his company, Maparahwe Properties, agreed not to evict the settlers but to sell residential stands to co-op members following intervention by the President’s Office.

The MoU states that the purchaser shall pay 15 percent value added tax and transfer costs and other charges to be spelt out in the agreement like legal practitioner’s fee of $230 and monthly instalments of $80 with effect from December 7 2013 for 62 months and $20 administration fee per month.

But residents say they have already paid for most of the designing and surveying work already – each contributing some $255 last year. They complained to Chombo, who visited in December, and he told them to stop paying. He also set up a development committee, which included Mpame, residents, town council, district and provincial administrators to work together to oversee further developments, according to a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But now Mpame is threatening to evict the people and has served 145 eviction orders on defaulters.

“People want to pay but they are following Chombo’s orders and if that does not apply he must come and withdraw his statements and apologise to the people,” said the resident.

Residents have since created a base and camp near the farm house and butchery in protest over the evictions orders and the $460 penalty fee imposed by Mpame on defaulters.

“Nineteen people at the base were arrested last month for trespassing and contempt of court and recently two others were arrested for trying to kill a beast from Neil’s herd and physically assaulting one of the farm workers. All these people have been taken to court,” said another resident who also preferred anonymity.

Zanu (PF’s) Mashonaland West chair, Temba Mliswa told The Zimbabwean that Chombo should sort out the mess. “As secretary for lands and minister of local government and housing it is his duty to solve problems at Kingsdale,” he said.

Mpame said tenants should not be swayed by politicking. “They (residents) forget that I reserve the right to evict defaulters and repossess stands of individuals who breach the MoU we signed,” he said. Efforts to get comment from Chombo were futile as he was not answering his mobile phone.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *