The people of Aspindale 48&49 in Kambuzuma have suffered heinous acts last experienced during the liberation battle.
Their cooperative leaders have slept in mountains hiding.
Some of them have nursed broken limbs after receiving gruesome beatings from the police.
During one visit to the area by this publication one cooperative leader was found nursing sore and blackened buttocks.
He had been sjamboked by members of the ZRP working with Rautenbach’s company to stifle dissent.
The sole crime for these people has been their fight to stop businessman Billy Rautenbach from taking over their area.
He says he has title deeds. They say he doesn’t. Temba Mliswa also says he doesn’t. A court ruling also gave ownership to residents.
Rothmans International, a defunct company is the actual owner of the place and according to the residents government gave them an offer letter.
How the people came to occupy this place is the usual story found all over Zimbabwe.
Intent to recoup some control and win over the urban vote, the ruling ZANU PF gave large tracts of land to various groups of party aligned cooperatives.
In Aspindale there is Wadzanai and Leopold Takawira Cooperatives.
They are all party related cooperatives whose leaders are also functionaries in the ruling ZANU PF.
Thus the majority of the people who eventually got stands had close links or are actually supporters of ZANU PF.
A visit to their cooperative offices shows this conflation between party and cooperative as they have a ZANU PF party flag in their front yard.
Change of Guard
Things however soured for them when factional fights in Zanu-PF resulted in the removal of the G40 faction.
Saviour Kasukuwere, who had engineered their acquisition of the Aspindale stands was chased out and in came July Moyo.
Moyo, according to Mliswa, is close ally of Rautenbach, together with Harare Minister Oliver Chidawu.
The two have thus worked to support their friend Rautenbach at the expense of the betrayed Aspindale residents.
For all their being ZANU PF supporters the residents have found no political support as their ‘bosses’ are siding with the monied Rautenbach.
Such has been their dire situation they have had to ‘borrow’ independent legislator Temba Mliswa to defend them within political offices.
It’s a pitiful situation for the residents as Rautenbach has refused to go and is currently laying out roads and creating the drainage system.
Empty political statements have been given to the residents, calming them down but they are wary as they see the continued involvement of Billy in their area.
With elections still years away it’s a very dangerous situation for them as the politicians have no immediate cause to help them.