ZANU PF Chipangano gang block construction in Mbare
By Tererai Karimakwenda
The violent ZANU PF aligned Chipangano gang has once again blocked progress
in Mbare high-density suburb, after allegedly threatening workers to stop
construction of a ZESA substation that would increase power in the area.
The substation is part of a complex that includes a service station and food
court, which would bring jobs and more development to Mbare. But the gang
reportedly objects because they accuse the developer, Alex Mashamhanda, of
supporting the MDC.
Mashamhanda has denied this but it did not stop Chipangano from physically
attacking him back in January. This left “soft tissue injuries” which he
reported to the police, but no arrests followed.
The latest threats were reportedly issued on Saturday “within ear shot” of
the police, who are based right next door at Matapi Police Station. The gang
is said to have resorted to threatening workers after failing to convince
the City Council to stop construction of the service station.
In February Mashamhanda filed for and received an order of protection from
the High Court against Chipangano leader Jim Kunaka (the ZANU PF Harare
province youth chairperson), politburo member Tendai Savanhu and Alfonse
Saturday’s threats constitute a contempt of court violation. But Mbare MP
Piniel Denga told SW Radio Africa it is unlikely any member of the gang will
be arrested. “The ZRP at Matapi is working in cohorts with the Chipangano
guys of Jim Kunaka. Some police are even in ZANU PF structures,” Denga said.
The MP explained that the ZESA substation would not only help Mbare
residents but it would also promote development by boosting the power supply
in the area. This would allow more contruction , create more jobs and
attract more investors.
Denga said: “ZANU PF is not for development as they preach. They only want
people’s support when it comes to elections only. And they don’t even
implement the policies that they promise during their campaigns.”
The police at Matapi have appeared helpless in the face of a violent
campaign against Mbare residents by Chipangano, who declared the area a
no-go zone for supporters of the MDC-T and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
This is not the first time the gang has stopped construction that would have
helped Mbare residents. A housing project funded by the Bill Gates
Foundation stopped construction last year due to interference by Chipangano
The gang has also taken over Council properties and are illegally collecting
revenue from City-run parking lots, flea markets and minibus operators.
Denga said it is estimated that they make up to $6,000 per day from these
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