Tuesday 7 November 2023


MORE than 300 illegal structures in Retreat, Waterfalls, Harare were on Friday last week razed to the ground to allow Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church (UFIC) to occupy the land which the families had been allocated by suspected Zanu PF-linked land barons.

The demolition took place in an area popularly known as kumaCongo because some of the illegal stands were occupied by Congolese who bought them from a land baron who was popularly known as Nkomo, but is now deceased.

There was heavy presence of anti-riot police ordering people to leave by 1530hrs on Friday ahead of the demolitions.

UFIC founder and leader, Makandiwa had in December last year given the illegal settlers reprieve to afford them ample time to remove their structures on their own and salvage whatever they could to minimise losses.

When NewsDay visited Retreat, it came across a family stranded with its property along Seke Road, while other affected people were still transporting their property and collecting anything they could, including bricks, from the demolished area.

“We were aware that Makandiwa was the owner of the land because we were issued notices long back. We were just relaxed thinking that there will not be demolitions since we bought the stands through Zanu PF ‘chairman’ in the area,” said one of the evictees.

“Some stands were sold for between US$10 and US$20. Anyone could wear party regalia and sell. This usually happens towards elections. Some papers even had City of Harare stamps. Some stands were advertised on Facebook and unsuspecting people could buy for US$2 000,” said an affected man.

UFIC secured a court order to demolish the 300 illegal structures on September 19, 2022, under case no HC3515/21.

UFIC spokesperson Prime Kufakunesu told NewsDay that the settlers were given notice on several occasions.

“We obtained a court order, but father Makandiwa gave reprieve to the settlers in December fearing that their property could be damaged by rains,” said Kufanesu. “The people were told several times that the land belonged to UFIC but they have remained at the place.

“Land barons were selling the land and we kept telling people it was ours. Maybe they bought out of desperation.”

Kufakunesu said the land was earmarked for an orphanage, church and residential stands, adding that more than 500 housing structures, flats and single houses would be built.

Some land barons also sold stands on land earmarked for a railway line near the area ahead of the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections. Newsday


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