Midnight demolitions in Chitungwiza

2609-HR0092-1-1-PAGE 1Farai Kuvirimirwa Herald Reporter
At least 70 buildings, including houses and business premises at different levels of construction in Chitungwiza were yesterday razed down during a pre-dawn operation by council using front end loaders.
The operation to rid the town of illegal structures built on wetlands, left hundreds of people homeless.

The properties were demolished between 1 and 3am in St Mary’s, Units A, P, O and G.

A thatched bar and gazebo owned by one Mr Marufu and situated next to St Mary’s police station, a shopping complex under construction and tens of houses went down.

Chitungwiza council chamber secretary, Mrs Priscilla Vengesai, said the demolitions were targeted at illegal structures only.

“Those structures were built by people on undesignated areas. They do not have stand numbers and they allocated themselves land on those sites. They can come to our offices with their stand numbers for verification,” she said.

Upon being asked why the demolitions were conducted at night, Mrs Vengesai referred the questions to town clerk Mr George Makunde, whose mobile number was not available.

When The Herald visited Chitungwiza, scores of residents were still in shock over what had happened to the buildings.

In St Mary’s, a resident identified as Mr Maxwell Chayemura, said the bar and the gazebo were completed last year.

“We anticipated it was going to be opened anytime from now but it has been turned into rubble overnight. Graders made noise during the night and when we went outside to investigate, we were shocked to see them destroying the buildings,” he said.

At St Marys complex, one of the tenants and brother to the owner of the building who identified himself as Manyonganise, said he was shocked to see his refrigerators underneath the rubble before being informed council officials were responsible.

“I came expecting to start on a good note but I was surprised that my clients’ refrigerators had been damaged in the course of the demolition process.
“If it was proper, they would have come during the day and I am wondering why they did it at night and without giving us a notice.

“They should have told us in advance such that we remove our belongings than for them to be damaged. The building was constructed with full approval of the council and inspectors came to approve the building when it was at various stages,” he said.

In Unit A and next to Chibuku Stadium, one of the victims Mr Tawanda Musosa, said he was devastated with the demolition of his seven roomed house.

“I incurred several expenses exceeding $10 000 during the construction and purchase of the stand. Now I am not sure of where I will go from here since I invested all I worked for.

“I could not open the door in the middle of the night since I thought they were thieves. I was surprised with the rumbling noise before the wall was pushed to where I was sleeping,” he said before showing his bruised hand.

Another victim, Mr Admire Ruganhire, said his neighbours were spared and given notices to vacate the area.

“We are paying water bills to council every month and they should have said it before we parted with a lot of money,” he said.


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  • Robert

    If it’s true that they were not given notices and that city council billed them for use of water then this is lawlessness at its best.

  • zimasset

    earth movers to destroy infrastructure are available when we dnt have for roads

  • the patriot

    This is not fair

    • Rizman

      there has never been fairness in Zimbabwe

  • Mudhara Pfende

    No wonder Zimbabwe is a dump

  • Rizman

    people dont care anymore

  • Para

    Stop building the slams… Bring them down

  • Mpengo

    Yet That Chinese Mall was built on wetlands too. The issue was even contested by the Environmental Management Authority, well reported in the press even Herald(http://www.herald.co.zw/ema-sleeping-on-the-job/) …

    Yet the project went on.

    That ecosystem has been destroyed and the ignorant refuse to know the impact that it has on the environment.

    • Truth seeker

      That’s why we need to management, if we lack it, then we need people that unofficially make sure these idiots back off…

  • mugopower

    Cry my beloved land. No respect for other humans.

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    Nyaya ye corruption chaiyo! Where are those who approved the building plans? What of the Chinese shopping complex next to the National Stadium built on the wetland too? The building is too big for relevant Minister eyes to see clearly . He/she does not need binnoculars!

  • Cde Mgagao

    But what of those officials who approve the illegal structures and mislead the innocent souls ? What will or is being be done to them? Surely if the council officials and government ministers are awake to their responsibilities you would not see such massive construction taking place to be demolished after elections? Why run rings around the ordinary homeseekers? Make money out of them and then descend on then sadistically!

  • Mudzidzisi Ticha Benard

    if there are Chinese the place is no longer considered wetlands

  • Cde Jairos Tapfuma

    It’s unfair to compare those shacks with the Long Cheng Plaza at the National Sports Stadium. The Chinese building is a massive investment. After all what started was Belvedere Extension just across the road, so why should the Chinese not decongest the over-crowded Harare? In fact what we should hear is the arrest and prosecution of those who corruptly approved the construction of those buildings. Hatidi vcanhu vanotyora mutemo vachiti vanozonzwirwa tsitsi.

    • ngati nyarane

      these are not shacks there are real building built under the council’s inspection rates being paid to the same offices they are too corrupt and not ashamed they even send some water &refuse bills to a place they never put a water pipe there no refuse collection.