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New Land Invasions Shock Chitungwiza Mayor

FILE: Hundreds of residents have been left homeless in Chitungwiza and Epworth following house demolitions Friday. (Courtesy Photo)

The Mayor of Chitungwiza says there is a new wave of land invasions in his municipality that is now threatening his council’s plans and mandate to govern Harare’s dormitory town.

Chitungwiza Mayor, Phillip Mutoti, told a news conference in Harare on Monday that his council is worried by a new wave of invasions of residential stands, especially in the town’s Nyatsime and St. Mary’s suburbs, at the instigation of unnamed senior politicians.

Pressed to divulge the names of the politicians, Mutoti refused saying he feared for his life given the recent clashes between Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) youths over residential stands.

Mutoti said some Chitungwiza residents were also losing huge amounts of money to land barons who are allocating them stands in Nyatsime without council approval.

Mutoti urged Chitungwiza residents to apply for land directly to the local authority, adding the law should deal with all those who break the town’s by-laws without fear or favour.

Meanwhile, Mutoti has come under fire from the Chitungwiza Residents Trust for allegedly demolishing a house belonging to one Sakhelene Mudunge of Manyame Park suburb so he could occupy the property.

Chitrest coordinator, Marvelous Khumalo, said the mayor’s actions were tantamount to abuse of office.

He added that his organization is now taking up the matter legally.

But Mutoti said he had no knowledge of the incident, adding that he was being blackmailed. But further investigations by Studio 7 revealed that Mudunge bought the residential stand from the Chitungwiza municipality in 2007 before erecting structures there. The investigation also revealed that Mudunge has filed a complaint against Mutoti at St Mary’s police station.

The MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed all its elected councilors in Chitungwiza for corruption before the current crop of councilors was elected in the previous elections. Mutoti was elected into council under an MDC-T ticket.