Row over Meikles Park deepens

Isau Mupfumi has been challenged to re-open closed industries in the city rather than grab Meikles Park, which was a source of livelihood to hundreds of flea market operators.

Isau Mupfumi
Isau Mupfumi

The government recently offered the prime piece of land on a lease with option to purchase basis to Mupfumi, a top Zanu (PF) official. The Mutare Flea Market Owners Association says the deal will push them into poverty. Coordinator Irvin Mbengo said would push for the reversal of the deal.

“We challenge the Ministry of Local Government and the City Council to furnish us with all the documentation regarding this land deal. We were supposed to have been given priority because we have paid over a $1m dollars to the council on rentals. It is very unfair that an individual is being given the opportunity at the expense of the masses,” he said.

“If Mupfumi is so keen in expanding his businesses why should he not re-open closed companies in Mutare? Let him re-open PG and we will call him a hero,” he said, adding that if Chombo was serious about indigenisation he should have also leased out Africa Unit Square in Harare and Lady Stanley Square in Bulawayo.

Flea market owner Jacob Devure said the move showed that the indigenisation law was crafted to benefit Zanu (PF) political elites only at the expense of the economy.

Mupfumi said Mbengo was bitter because he was unfairly being paid huge sums of money by vendors using tables at the park. “This is a selfish battle meant to ensure that he keeps on milking the desperate vendors,” he said.

Town Clerk Obert Muzawazi said the leasing of the Meikles Park to Mupfumi was done above board and those seeking answers and clarification about the deal should approach the Ministry of Local Government as the council no longer owned the park.

The prime site located in the city’s central business district has been the centre of controversy for some time. At one point a deal was nearly reached between a Chinese company and the city before residents and some city fathers raised objections. The issue led to conflict between former mayor Brian James and council management after he objected to the land swap deal.

Post published in: News
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