By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
13 May 2014
Local government minister Ignatius Chombo’s woes continued Monday when ZANU PF and Chitungwiza residents staged a demonstration against him, barely 48 hours after he was booed by flood victims in Mwenezi.
More than 200 people gathered at the Chitungwiza Town Council offices to demonstrate against Chombo’s failure to speak to them about their grievances.
Chombo was meant to address the residents over his initial threat that the government will destroy houses built on undesignated land, as well as a recent court order barring the demolition of those structures.
According to reports, Chombo failed to turn up for the Chitungwiza meeting because he was attending an ‘emergency’ ZANU PF politburo meeting in Harare. After waiting for hours the residents and ZANU PF supporters clad in party regalia broke into song as they danced and protested, denouncing Chombo for failing to show up.
The demonstration came after Chombo and nine other ministers were Saturday booed by the Tokwe Mukosi flood victims forcing them to abandon the meeting which was held at the Chingwizi transit camp.
A NewsDay report said Chombo’s deputy, Joel Matiza, later on Monday held meetings with ZANU PF officials and council managers. However, town clerk George Makunde said the meeting with Matiza had nothing to do with the properties which are subject to the court order barring the planned demolitions.
Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association leader Admire Zaya, told SW Radio Africa that the residents wanted an assurance from Chombo that the government would respect the court order. He said: “The housing situation in Chitungwiza demands that Chombo should address the residents.”
Zaya said if the government insisted on the demolition of the houses built on undesignated land, then the owners of those properties should be refunded their money or allocated alternative accommodation.
The owners of the houses in question acquired land from individuals who have since been linked to councillors and senior managers. Despite an audit which unearthed the scam, those land barons have remained untouched to this date.
Last month Chombo gave the property owners three weeks to destroy their structures and relocate, or face police eviction. However, the local civil court later barred the destruction of those structures saying it was illegal for the council to demolish people’s homes without the court’s permission.