THE Harare City Council says it will not challenge a directive to resettle a man uprooted from his home in the plush neighbourhood of Borrowdale to make way for President Robert Mugabe’s sprawling retirement home.
Councillors reacted with anger last month after Local Government ordered the local authority to designate two stands in Honnington Close, Greystone Park, for a Mr O Chitsinde -- one of at least a dozen people forced to give up their properties in 2006.
Councillors met on Monday to discuss Chombo’s directive and agreed to give Chitsinde the two stands “on humanitarian grounds”.
Warship Dumba, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councilor told New Zimbabwe.com: “Our stance is that it is not the duty of the local authorities to compensate people whose properties are grabbed by the state.
“But we considered Chitsinde’s circumstances and realised that it was far better for the council to come out the loser from this affair than an individual.”
Chitsinde lost 12 hectares of land to Mugabe located in Helensvale, Borrowdale, after the government wrote to him and a dozen other residents informing them that their properties had been expropriated “for a priority project”.
The letters said in part: “This serves to advise you that your property falls in a designated security area in terms of general notice of 255 of 2004 ..."
Chombo directed the Harare City Council to compensate Chitsinde with stand numbers 882 and 883 in Honnington Close, Greystone Park.
Construction on Mugabe’s new £5 million mansion began in 2006. The mansion is thought to be the largest private dwelling in Africa.
It has been reported that the mansion has three floors amounting to approximately four acres. It has a ballroom, media complex and 24 bedrooms.
The Chinese-styled palace overlooks dams and a newly-planted 50-acre garden protected by a 12ft wall.
The interior includes a Moroccan-style public room plastered by North African craftsmen. Original Chinese decorations have been used in several other public rooms.