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ZANU-PF youths disrupt ground breaking ceremony in Mbare

By Farai Dauramanzi

A group of alleged Zanu-PF youths on Friday 6 February 2015 disrupted the ground breaking ceremony of the Shawasha Shopping Mall that is set to be built by investors from the United Arab Emirates.

The upmarket mall which will accommodate 6,000 traders is set to be built at the corner of Remembrance Drive and Cripps Road in Mbare Harare. However, it seems youths in the area are not happy with the planned development as they would not allow the groundbreaking ceremony which was supposed to be presided over by the Minister of Local Government, Public works and National Housing Dr Ignatius Chombo to take place.

The youths who were led by Mbare Ward 4 Councillor Martin Matinyanya (Zanu-PF) came to the event venue before Dr Chombo’s arrival and charged that no function was to take place because the council had not notified the local leadership.

“You cannot just come here to do your program without notifying the local leadership. And look even MDC councillors are sitting in the front row in the tent yet we have our own local leadership. If you continue I promise you that there will be mayhem here,” said Matinyanya while addressing the town clerk who was trying to negotiate with the youths a few metres away from the tent that had been set-up for the event.

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Other youths in the group which initially was quite small soon turned into a crowd within a few minutes. They could be heard saying that the area that was earmarked for the Shawasha Mall belonged to Mbare youths.

“Civil servants are living lavish lives yet we have nothing. You (council) now want to take away our source of income and as youths of the area will not allow that,” declared one youth who could not be identified.

After intense negotiations with Matinyanya and the youths, the City’s town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi had no option but to announce a postponement of the event.

“I’m sorry ladies and gentleman we have to postpone the event because the Minister (Dr Chombo) has been assigned to do other duties and he has suggested that we postpone it to Friday so that he can be able to participate in this groundbreaking ceremony,” said the dejected Mahachi to the gathered guests.

However, the move by Matinyanya and his gang to block the groundbreaking ceremony has been described by one senior council executive as regrettable.

“I wonder what they aim to achieve because this development (Shawasha Mall) is for the good of their own community. However, this will also give council workers reasons for not attending to service delivery in Mbare citing fear of these rowdy characters,” said the council official who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.

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Zimbabwe has over the years faced challenges in attracting investors due to the country’s political landscape which has been deemed unfavourable. This came about after the country engaged in the land reform program and later the Indigenisation policy.

However, the country has been trying to attract international investors in the past months to support the ZIMASSET economic blueprint and this development will likely put a small dent in the economic recovery program.

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Nigel Mugamu is extremely passionate about the use of tech in Africa, travel, wine, Man Utd, current affairs and Zimbabwe.

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