Gunshots as houses are demolished in Harare
A MISSION demolish illegally built houses ended prematurely after angry and militant residents went berserk, stoning a front end loader and a high court deputy sheriff in Marimba, Harare on Wednesday afternoon, prompting a cornered businessman with interests in the land to fire a volley of bullets into the air to scare them off before making good his escape.
The front end loader was in the process of demolishing one big house when the Financial Gazette arrived on the scene while the sheriff and the businessman only identified as Mr Matonhodze, had run away from the angry mob.
They had in fact named the place ZANU-PF Vineyard and some of them wore T-shirts with the insignia, “Party at heart, ZANU-PF as one.”
The ruling party’s flag was also hoisted at several places around the place.
They are under a housing co-operative known as Noteview.
One member of the co-operative only identified himself as a senior ZANU-PF official, said Matonhodze and an unnamed white businessman who claimed ownership of the land obtained an eviction order at the High Court last week, which was served to the occupiers.
He also claimed that the co-operative however obtained an injunction on Friday which stopped the eviction.
“We are surprised that they have decided to proceed to do this when we obtained an injunction stopping them from evicting us. This is clear contempt of court,” he said in an interview.
He then made a quick call as if consulting with someone who was giving orders from afar.
He was heard saying over the phone that he could not order the mob to attack the front end loader driver and his colleagues fearing they would be arrested.
However, as soon as he ended the call, he shouted that the mob had the green light to attack, which means he had been told to go ahead and give the order.
It was not immediately clear who he was talking to over the phone.
Unbeknown to him, the front end loader driver headed for the next house, but before he could reach it, a woman who is presumably the owner of the house raced in front of the vehicle screaming at the top of her voice.
This attracted the attention of the mob, the youthful of which picked stones and started hurling them at the vehicle, forcing the driver to abort the mission.
Some of the youths were heard shouting: “Please stop what you are doing, or you will die for nothing.”
Government recently announced that all illegal settlements will be cleared.
Harare City council has so far demolished thousands of illegally built houses while the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, has launched a blitz which has netted many land barons.
Land barons have taken advantage of government’s failure to provide housing for the citizens to fleece unsuspecting home seekers of their hard earned income.