HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo is at the centre of a wrangle in which a private property under dispute is being parcelled out to Zanu PF supporters.
The land at the centre of the controversy, Whitecliffe Farm, was compulsorily acquired under the controversial land reform exercise.
The property belongs to property tycoon Eddies Pfugari who is making frantic efforts to repossess it as he was also parcelling it to would-be home seekers.
Sources privy to the goings-on at the contentious piece of land said Zhuwawo with support from Zanu PF bigwigs has embarked on a campaign akin to the Harare South project at Hopley Farm where the party has been giving away residential stands without proper infrastructure.
“They just want to boost numbers for election purposes. That place (Whitecliffe) lies within his constituency and he wants to lure voters using private land. The owner is a private citizen with no political inclinations.”
“They are victimising him because he has refused to fund their activities — now he is paying for it,” an insider said.
Pfugari refused to comment.
“Please talk to my lawyers they are handling the matter. I am happy that way,” he said. His lawyers also refused to comment claiming the matter is sub-judice.
Zvimba East legislator Zhuwawo laughed off the claims.
“The people who are giving you such information have no other agenda but to tarnish my name and that of Zanu PF. I am a clean politician and I will give you a bull worth $5 000 if you find anyone who will indicate that I facilitated their acquiring of a stand. Everything is being done either by the ministry of Housing or the City of Harare,” Zhuwawo said.
The Daily News visited Whitecliffe at the weekend and noticed earthmoving equipment parked on site for the weekend, showing that work was going on.
National Housing minister Giles Mutsekwa confirmed the political mudslinging and bribery going on and also the involvement of Zhuwawo.
“People like Zhuwawo got involved because there was haphazard allocation of stands and they wanted to benefit politically. Zhuwawo came to my office twice and I told him anybody who wants to politic with Whitecliffe will fall face down and I am very clear about that. I am the authority and will make sure the right people benefit,” Mutsekwa said.
He also confirmed the existence of a committee which he said he had since summoned and gave a tongue-lashing.
“I summoned those people who are fleecing people and giving them fake offer letters we are on the ground now and putting up civil works. There are people whose structures will be destroyed in the process and those will benefit first.”
‘Our people must understand that anything being done outside the ambit of my ministry is fake, illegal and will not be sanctioned,” Mutsekwa said.
Most of the people living on Whitecliffee according to Mutsekwa are victims of Murambatsvina a massive clean-up operation that left almost a million people homeless in 2005.
Mutsekwa could not comment on Pfugari’s challenge and referred the Daily News to Lands minister Herbert Murerwa who was not available for comment yesterday.