Chaos in Retreat: 300 houses razed to the ground as prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa evicts thousands


Last week, over 300 illegal structures in the Retreat area of Waterfalls, Harare were demolished to make way for the United Family International Church (UFIC), led by Emmanuel Makandiwa, to occupy the land. These structures had been allocated to families by suspected Zanu PF-linked land barons.

The area where the demolitions took place, known as kumaCongo, was home to some Congolese individuals who had purchased the illegal stands from a land baron named Nkomo, who has since passed away. Prior to the demolitions, anti-riot police were present and ordered people to vacate the area by 3:30 pm.

In December of the previous year, Makandiwa had granted the illegal settlers a reprieve, allowing them time to remove their structures and salvage their belongings to minimize losses. However, when NewsDay reporters visited the Retreat area, they encountered a family stranded with their property along Seke Road, while others were still in the process of transporting their belongings and salvaging whatever they could from the demolished area.

Some of the affected individuals commented on the situation, expressing their belief that Makandiwa owned the land and stating that they had received notices regarding the impending demolitions. They also mentioned that the stands were sold by individuals posing as Zanu PF officials, with stands being advertised on social media platforms like Facebook. The prices of the stands ranged from US$10 to US$20, and some unsuspecting individuals even bought them for US$2,000.

UFIC had obtained a court order under case number HC3515/21, allowing them to demolish the 300 illegal structures on the land. Part of the land was intended for UFIC’s Operation Nehemiah Housing Project, which aimed to provide housing for its congregants. UFIC spokesperson Prime Kufakunesu stated that the settlers had been notified on multiple occasions about the ownership of the land and the impending demolitions. He mentioned that the land was designated for an orphanage, a church, and residential stands, with plans to construct over 500 housing structures, flats, and single houses.

It was also revealed that some land barons had sold stands on land reserved for a railway line near the area before the August 23 and 24 harmonized elections.

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