By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent
ZANU PF Zvimba East constituency by-election candidate, Kudakwashe Decide Manhanzva, is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to win the parliamentary seat, promising to stop the eviction of hordes of families by a property mogul.
Manhanzva is squaring off in the February 3 by-election against independent candidate, Oliver Mutasa, who in the last polls ran under the banner of Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) before his recall by Sengezo Tshabangu.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters, who braved the heavy rains that pounded the area on Thursday, Manhanzva appealed to Zanu PF Youth League boss, Tino Machakaire, who is also Youth Minister and Politburo member, to escalate the matter in order to expedite regularisation of the settlement.
The affected families and property owner, Eddies Pfugari, are currently embroiled in a bitter fight with the latter threatening to evict occupants from Whitecliff Farm situated on the outskirts of Harare.
“The major challenge facing Zvimba East is housing. The people don’t have anywhere to stay. As our Youth League leader l know you are resolute and fearless and will say things as they are.
“Youths don’t have accommodation, but here in Zvimba East, there is plenty of land. Of concern, there is a single individual who was given over 500 hectares which he is then selling to our people,” said Manhanzva.
“That same person found some people already settled on that land and he is attempting to displace them. My appeal is to protect families facing eviction whose numbers keep increasing.”
Thousands of residents settled by the government at the disputed property have been living in fear of eviction as authorities try to engage Pfugari to accept either compensation or provide him alternative land.
“Here in Whitecliff there is a guy called Pfugari, l am asking the government to speed up the process to allocate him alternative land because residents have known no peace in light of constant threats of eviction,” said the aspiring Zvimba East lawmaker, who is a national member of the Zanu PF Youth League.
Manhanzva has invested heavily in the constituency where he built bridges, rehabilitated roads and installed solarised boreholes to ensure clean and safe drinking water for thousands of Whitecliff residents, whose future hangs in the balance.
Machakaire, who was guest of honour at the rally, promised to take up the matter to higher authorities to ensure Whitecliff inhabitants live peacefully.
During the 2018 election campaign rally in Whitecliff, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga delved into the saga saying those settled at the property will remain put.
“You will not be evicted. As government, we will engage the owner to hear what he wants. We will either compensate him or give him alternative land.
“He should understand and be considerate. We cannot allow all these people in their thousands to be evicted,” Chiwenga said then.
His remarks followed a failed bid by government to regularise the compulsory acquisition of Whitecliff Farm after the Supreme Court threw out its appeal.
The Supreme Court struck off the roll the challenge by the then Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement against the Administrative Court’s decision to dismiss government’s confirmation application.
Some years ago, the Administrative Court also threw out an application by the government to validate the compulsory acquisition of Whitecliff Farm as settlers allocated the land by the State were still on the land in defiance of a 2012 Supreme Court order.