Land barons’ homes demolished

THERE was palpable fear in Harare’s sprawling Glen View suburb after hundreds of riot police accompanied the Deputy Sheriff to evict notorious land baron Michael Mutandwa.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mutandwa, a losing Zanu PF candidate in the July 30 elections has reportedly been parceling out land belonging to diversified industrial giant CFI Holdings subsidiary, Crest Breeders and fleecing desperate home seekers of their hard earned cash. He was arrested earlier this month and is currently in prison awaiting trial for various offenses.

But his home and those of his two alleged accomplishes were demolished yesterday as petrified residents watched in horror.

CFI Holdings company secretary Panganayi Hare said his company had no problem with residents who were being forced to pay Mutandwa and his group for the land as long as they “regularise their papers” with the industrial giant.

“Mutandwa and his accomplices have been using violence to resist eviction by the Deputy Sheriff, that’s why we had to seek the help of the police and as you can see everything has gone on well. We can now plan our things properly. We have no problem with these homeseekers as long as they can regularise their papers with us and pay for the land; they can stay,” said Hare.

Residents interviewed said Mutandwa, who previously chased the police and the Deputy Sheriff’s team, was forcing poor people to pay for land that was not his.

“We are happy that these people have come to deal with this terror gang. People are being forced to stop regularising their papers with CFI because Mutandwa and his group claim to have power to revoke ownership. Some people have lost a lot of money and the group was also making double allocations just to make more money.

“The CFI people must now talk to us, we are ready to pay for the land, but there must be dialogue,” one resident, who owned an illegal liquor outlet in the area, said.

The Deputy Sheriff, also oversaw the demolition of houses belonging to Liberty Mutanga and Emmanuel Chabata, who appeared to have been tipped off and had moved out their belongings. However, Mutandwa was not lucky as his home was razed down while the property that was inside had to be dumped on the roadside.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has set up a commission of inquiry into State land allocations, especially in Harare where land barons mainly connected to the political elite wreaked havoc and gave rise to a litany of informal settlements and invasion of private property.