By Munesu Nyakudya
Kingsdale residents have lamented the involvement of politicians in their land saga arguing that the politicians are only using them for political capital.
This follows the recent demolitions of some houses by Maparahwe Properties.
Residents have been tussling for the land with Maparahwe Properties for nearly ten years with no end in sight.
Lately Mashonaland West Minister Mary Mliswa has also become involved adding to the list of politicians who include his brother and Norton MP Temba Mliswa, Councilor Laston Tachiona and others.
The confusion has been compounded also by the creation of various residents associations all of whom are supposed to deal with the same matter.
Gaza Strip Association, formed by Temba Mliswa agreed to recognize Maparahwe as the owner of the land.
It has since signed a deed of settlement.
Another association led by Councilor Tachiona still refuses to recognize Maparahwe and has pending court cases over the differences.
Another faction led by ZANU PF officials met with Maparahwe owner Cuthbert Mpame, himself ZANU PF legislator for Zvishavane Runde.
They also agreed to recognise his ownership and signed another agreement.
1. Today VP Dr Gen(Rtd.) C.G.N Chiwenga held a rally in Kingsdale, Norton‼️
Norton Constituency is one of the interesting constituencies in the 2018 elections. Its a swing constituency. The candidature line up is also very interesting. pic.twitter.com/2fPJDBFeLL
— 🇿🇼 ZANU PF PATRIOTS 🇿🇼 (@zanupf_patriots) July 22, 2018
However even after all these, this week the a messenger of Court, accompanied by members of the ZRP went around and demolished some houses in the area.
The pain has been too much for some residents who have since called for a united approach by residents with no politicians.
Trynos Chakavarika* (58) lamented the circles they have been going around in.
“It’s very painful when people come here with statements to make us clap hands for them, yet they are lying.
“We have been going around in circles over this matter for years now but no solution is coming.
“It now seems these politicians are not sincere to bring about a solution but to retain us as political capital.
“Elections are near so they need our case as a campaign material. It’s painful,” he said.
Stacy Chabvaneyi echoed the same sentiments.
“One would think with all these politicians involved the matter would have been settled by now.
“However, it appears it’s their involvement which is actually the impediment to a solution.
“Maybe they want the issue to continue so that they get votes,” she says.
Demolitions ongoing at Kingsdale Farm, Ward 12, Norton since Monday 20/9. 10 families; women, children & property currently in the open. 300 more families facing threat. The demolitions stem from a wrangle with a private company claiming ownership of land gazetted by gvt in 2001 pic.twitter.com/Rr8vbzsGcE
— Community Alliance for Human Settlements Zimbabwe (@cahs_Zim) September 23, 2021
Clr Tachiona argues that Mpame does not own the land.
He says Kingsdale was acquired way back by government and is now state land.
Therefore, he says residents should not pay to anyone.
However a Constitutional Court order identifies Mpame as the owner and gave a judgement for residents to pay US$5 per square metre.
The legislator is supposed to get the sum total of US$7 million.
A paper trail also contradicts the Councillor’s argument as it shows that government never acquired Kingsdale.
Documents seen by this publication show that government initially sought to acquire three farms owned by Pieter Nel.
These were Elstonwood, Elston Extension and Kingsdale of Johannesburg.
However it only ended up acquiring Elstonwood.
The other two farms were retained by their owner.
“Applicant has also agreed to withdraw its acquisition proceedings in respect of Kingsdale of Johannesburg as the property falls under the Master Plan of Norton Town Council”, reads a government gazette notice.
According to Mpame, the owner, Pieter Nel, then had an arrangement through which Maparahwe sold stands.
The Political Hand
Basing on these court and government rulings Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has been advocating for residents to pay to Maparahwe.
“There is a standing constitutional order which was by consent,” he says.
The order, which went through unchallenged by the residents, states that Mpame should be paid US$7 million by the residents.
Thus Mliswa has formed a splinter association Gaza Strip, which has thrashed out an agreement with Mpame.
The arrangement protects residents against any evictions.
The ZANU PF camp has also lately come into the fold to ‘save’ the people by negotiating with Mpame.
Last month an entourage comprising Mash West State Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Cuthbert Mpame and other provincial leaders met at a Harare hotel to discuss the matter.
At the end of the meeting a statement was produced announcing the final conclusion of the land problem.
The agreement was the same as the one reached with Temba Mliswa’s Gaza Strip.
— The Zimbabwe Peace Project (@zppINFO) June 26, 2017
Clr Tachiona however remains adamant that the land belongs to the state and people should continue paying money for Lovemore Madhuku, the lawyer representing them at the court.
This has drawn accusations that he is swindling people but his supporters argue that no one is being forced to pay or join.
As the 2023 elections draw near the Kingsdale land case remains active ground for winning votes for politicians while for residents its life with a hanging Damocles sword.