Trouble in paradise; murder claims, racism claims rock Borrowdale Brooke

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By Mary Taruvinga

GLIDING through the smooth roads lined with a fusion of indigenous and exotic trees marching virtually without interlude but for the occasional glamorous, plush homes, any first timer to this exquisite and serene neighbourhood is left in awe.

It is not the sort of neighbourhood you can stray into.

Many of the homes on narrow, winding streets of this gentrified suburb are occupied by the country’s rich and famous, who have taken the unusual step of obtaining city permits to remove the streets in their neighborhood from public use and shouldering huge sums of money to install electronic barriers.

The residents say that they want to protect themselves from traffic, crime and transients from poor communities.

This is not just not another suburb; this is Borrowdale Brooke – where only the richest of the land reside.

It is ideally a verdant, tranquil environ where residents co-exist in utmost serenity, but it has recently experienced some massive turbulence resembling the ghetto.

It all started when businessman Shingi Munyeza, chairperson of the Borrowdale Brooke HomeOwners Association (BBHOA) decided to punish the effervescent Gokwe Nembudziya legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, for violating the peace that these people sought to enjoy by cutting themselves off from everyone.

Wadyajena, Munyeza and Co. claimed, rolled down the streets in a thunderous vehicle dead at night and roamed on those boulevards for two good hours.

The association did not waste time to act. It deactivated his access codes once the sun had risen and relegated him to the visitors lane.

Wadyajena sought legal recourse, demanding immediate restoration of his codes and describing as humiliating his relegation to the outer lane.

It actually turned out that the lane is as smooth as any other road here and people in places like Highfield would appreciate one half as good in their area.

The youthful legislator easily won the case at the High Court, which ruled the association simply had no case.

Another case soon followed. The association had barred Wadyajena’s construction workers from accessing the area. Again, he won it.

The story does not end there. Last Friday, Wadyajena wrote to Munyeza, not sparing the tongue lash he is accustomed to.

He declared all this was a case of political persecution and racism.

He claimed Munyeza was not is own man, but was doing the bidding for and on behalf of white people who live there.

Shingi Munyeza

Wadyajena said him and Munyeza have a well documented rivalry which has dragged on for three good years. Over what, he did not state.

“I have been falsely accused of murder, my wife was falsely accused of attempted murder, my brother was physically attacked by Brooke management, you unlawfully barred me accessi to my properties, I have been falsely accused of defacing Brooke property and I have been falsely accused of racing my vehicles on Brooke property,” Wadyajena said.

Wadyajena said he has not known peace in this paradise.

The legislator claimed that he had an unpleasant visit by heavily armed detectives from the homicide department, who raided his house following a ‘misguided’ tipoff by the Brooke management in which he was erroneously cited as the key suspect in the murder of one Nancy Duncan who stayed in the Sun River Manor, a private gated compound.

“This was a disturbing and malicious attempt to connect me and my family to a supposed crime that we had absolutely no knowledge of. Of course, this turned out to be complete, trumped-up nonsense, but the egregiousness of the accusation cannot be overstated and constitutes a serious disregard of the personal safety and dignity of all of us; but, falsely pegging me and other members of my family for murder seems to be a Brooke Association pastime,” he said.

He added that the Brooke management needlessly denied him permission to proceed with his ongoing construction projects on the pretense of an inspection, yet they had copies of his approved plans and was bent on frustrating him.

Wadyajena said going forward, it will not be business as usual.

“Dr. Munyeza, while I have tried to believe that this constant dance between murder, illegal construction, and noise allegations is not of a personal nature, all indications are that I am a target, and that deliberate actions have been taken to silence me, to paint me as an ‘undesirable neighbor ‘and ultimately to hound me out of The Brooke,” he said.

“Some known residents have faced very similar kinds of blatant persecution and eventually left The Brooke, but I am not most people, and I am not for turning,” he dared Munyeza.

“It is clear that the published lies are intended to create the perception of me as uncooperative in the eyes of the public audience that you have invited to these matters. However, make no mistake, I am prepared to take whatever comes at me head on and fortunately, I do not require the attention or acceptance from certain quarters of society and I am not at all reliant on the public gaze to validate my sense of right and wrong.”

He summed up his love letter to Munyeza with quite a sumptuous punchline: “I want to assure you, Mr. Chairman, that while I may be from Gokwe – and extremely proud of it – I am going nowhere.”