Last week hordes of Zanu (PF) youths occupied Elons court in the city, claiming that the building which is located at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue, is not adequately utilised. The youths, who were toy toying and singing revolutionary songs, resisted police eviction from the property.
When Radio VOP arrived at the scene, the youths were throwing stones to the police while the police who are known for their ruthless reaction on such incidences appeared to be powerless.
“This is part of the indigenisation programme which our party Zanu (PF) resolved to undertake at our last congress in Mutare and no one including the police has a right to stop this programme. In fact we have identified more than 70 unoccupied buildings in the city which we are going to allocate to residents who want them,” said one of the youths who only identified himself as Munya.
The marauding youths also confiscated a camera from Mail photographer, Chris Tabvura, who was taking the photographs of the skirmishes.
Police details left the premises around 10 o’clock in the morning under unclear circumstances leaving the youths loitering in and outside the building. The youths are reported to have already started leasing out some of the properties and pocketing the money.
The party youths recently clashed with the Zanu (PF) provincial Zanu (PF) chairperson Isaac Dakamela over the invasions which he described as illegal. Some of the invaded buildings include Zambesia and Canberra flats located between Leopold Takawira Street and Sixth Avenue.
The building is owned by the Laloo family of Indian origin.The building occupations which seem to be well coordinated have attracted the wrath of both politicians and business people in the city.
“The MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is really concerned by the continuing invasions of private properties in the city. This unlawness certainly has to come to an end before the situation deteriorates like what happened to the chaotic land reform programme,” said Tabitha Khumalo, the party’s deputy national spokesperson.
Khumalo said the illegal building occupations were counter-productive and will worsen the city’s de-industrialisation problems.
Zapu last week also issued a statement condemning the invasions .The party’s Bulawayo provincial chairperson, Ray Ncube said his party will defend the illegal takeover of properties belonging to foreigners by Zanu (PF) youths.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Amen Mpofu had also no kind words for the invaders.
“These invasions are making it really difficulty for council to attract investors in the city. Council in partnership with various stakeholders in the city is working day and night trying to address the issue of company relocation and closing in the city but it seems other people have got their own agendas” said councillor Mpofu.