Back to Index
Rescue us from Chirwa!
- Zimbabwe (TI-Z)
The Mbare residents brought
a complaint against the Harare City Council. Mbare residents have
reported that eight identified council officials based at Remembrance
house in Mbare are engaging in corrupt activities which are prejudicing
them of shelter and decent accommodation.
Zimbabwe's ALAC centre is in receipt of reports alleging that
eight council officers in the employ of Harare City Council at Remembrance
Building are engaging in corrupt activities that are causing gross
human rights abuses to the community. Residents allege that the
eight have formed a well-orchestrated syndicate to unprocedurally
'repossess' houses from residents who have stayed in
these council houses since the late 1970's claiming that the
houses belong to council and for that reason people staying in the
houses should move out. However, what baffles the protesting residents
is that no official instruction to evict tenants or repossess houses
has been issued by any higher authority. Legally, a tenant is entitled
to a three months notice before eviction. There is no clear criterion
being used to evict families from council houses. Before engaging
ALAC, some of the residents approached the Minister of Local Government,
Ignatius Chombo, the Town Clerk and the Director of Housing seeking
to complain about these random evictions being conducted by unscrupulous
Council officials at Remembrance building but the director has expressed
ignorance as to why people are being evicted. ALAC has copies of
letters written by Minister Chombo to the effect that people should
not be evicted unprocedurally neither should people be accommodated
in houses that they are not entitled to but this has fallen on deaf
What boggles the mind
is that it seems there are some Council employees with unimaginable
powers and immunity from reprisal. This matter has been brought
before different offices of authority including the office of the
Minister of Local Government, but the evictions continue and the
perpetrators are walking scot-free.
Residents have reported
that one notorious Modern Chirwa who resides at House No. 31B, 24th
Street Mbare has been on a rampage evicting residents from houses
they have stayed in for more than three decades. Mbare residents
further allege that this man has become a 'law unto himself'
as he does not give heed to authorities in the area. Chirwa, a mortuary
attendant goes about mobilising gangs and thugs to beat, intimidate
and evicting people from Council houses. Women are among the unfortunate
victims who have fallen prey to this syndicate led by Chirwa. To
avoid eviction, women are being asked to pay US$500 or to trade
sexual favours. ALAC is in possession of sworn affidavits by women
who have fallen prey to Chirwa.
Residents have brought
forward many cases implicating Chirwa as a corrupt and ruthless
man. They are all prepared to testify against him once he is arrested.
Amongst the cases are alleged acts of:
and abuse of council authority
The residents report
that Mr Chirwa has on several occasions moved around the Mbare suburb
collecting fees as much as US$20-00 from residents who want to have
their water reconnected by City of Harare. This is abuse of City
Council authority, as he is not employed to collect money on behalf
of the City of Harare. "Chirwa does not even work in the water
department," lamented one resident. ALAC made enquiries into
this issue and learnt that not only does Chirwa collect such 'reconnection
fees' but also has the 'influence' to have the
water reconnected for the residents who would have paid the bribes.
This implies that Chirwa is not working alone but is part of a bigger
and influential syndicate at Remembrance building. What pains the
most is that the City of Harare Water and the Housing Departments
have not taken any action to stop this, despite complaints by residents,
signalling that they are aware of what is happening and might be
involved in the sharing of the money collected from poor residents.
and misuse of state resources for private gain
allege that Mr Chirwa is using Gwinyai school premises for his personal
gain. Chirwa uses the school premise for parking his personal vehicles
without rendering any remuneration to the school. Some residents
have linked Chirwa to promiscuous activities going on at the school
during the night and parents have raised concern over used condoms
that are found at the school premises from time to time posing a
health risk to the school pupils. However, ALAC could not immediately
establish whether Chirwa is engaging in sexual activities at the
school as reported by residents. Residents further claim that Chirwa
threatened the Headmaster with unspecified action should he seek
to stop him from using the school premises. Chirwa is allegedly
using/abusing the name of ZANU PF to further his selfish personal
interest at the expense of Mbare residents.
bribes from desperate residents
Chirwa is working in
cohorts with some council officials (names supplied) at Remembrance
building to strip desperate residents who will be facing 'eviction'
their hard earned money. It is alleged that Council officials at
Remembrance will refer "targeted evictees to the notorious
Chirwa who will then solicit money from them (as much as US$1500)
which is then shared amongst the syndicate. Apparently, Chirwa who
is only a mortuary attendant at Nazarene clinic has entitlements
to 13 houses in Mbare (where he collects rentals monthly), and owns
a fleet of cars [among them BENZ and BMW models] and kombis. Residents
want an explanation as to how he has aquired all these movable and
imovable properties and yet he is only a mortuary attendant. Residents
report that about 40-50 women have been victims of sexual abuse
by Mr Chirwa but they are afraid to come out and testify if he is
still roaming free as they fear for their lives. "He is a
very dangerous man" said one terrified resident pleading to
ALAC officers to never disclose his/her name.
Mbare residents have
appealed for someone "up there" to save them from Chirwa
who they believe is acting in pursuit of his own personal interests
at the expense of people's lives and liberty. "He uses
the party name to get anything", said one resident, "but
we don't believe that he is doing it for anyone, not even
ZANU PF, but himself." Some residents, who confessed to be
staunch ZANU PF supporters, said that "it is not in the interest
of the party to evict its supporters or anyone in the constituency
for that matter, because they are the people who vote for us."
from complaints by Chirwa's victims:
Victim alleges that some
council officers came to her house (address withheld) claiming that
they were inspecting houses with outstanding balances due to council.
Victim informed the officers that she was a tenant and had actually
been on the waiting list since 1985 but to no avail. Victim was
advised to pay the outstanding balance and was promised that she
was now directly liable to pay rentals to council and not to the
woman she had been paying to, since it was illegal for anyone to
sublet council houses. Victim was later surprised to receive a letter
notifying her that she was being evicted. Victim went to seek clarification
at the council offices and was referred to some senior officials
who referred client to see Mr Chirwa to address her concerns. Victim
saw Mr Chirwa who explicitly told client that if she wanted to remain
in the house she either pays $US500 or sleeps with him. Victim refused
this arrangement and went to the Deputy Minister of Local Government
where she was given a letter stating that she should not be evicted.
One of the council officers went ahead and evicted the client. Victim
was only reinstated through a court order.
Client advised that he
obtained a house from council which he has been staying in since
1988 and has been staying there for more than 20 years. One day
the victim had gone to work and his wife had gone to visit their
sick daughter on returning to their home they were surprised to
find their door ajar and a strange woman in their house. Client
inquired why the strange woman was in their house and where their
property had been put since most of their belongings had been removed.
The woman told client and his wife that she had been put in the
house by the council and when she came there was no property in
the house. Client went to visit the District Administrator Mr. Mawume
and client was told that a mistake had been committed by the officers
who had removed client's property. Client requested to know
what had happened to his property but Mr Mawume could not give an
explanation. Client was referred to a senior official (name withheld)
at Remembrance but no action to redress the situation or an explanation
was ever given.
Victim reported the matter
to the police and the matter was assigned to Constable Marindira
but a docket was never opened and no investigations were conducted
to find out where council put client's property as police
gave the excuse that they did not want to interfere with Council
business. To this day the matter was never resolved. Victim and
his family failed to find accommodation and since the family's
means of living was based in Mbare clients could not move to any
other area. Victim failed to afford decent accommodation and moved
his family into a former beer hall toilet that has been out of order
for some time located in the high-density suburb.
Client and his family
consisting of four children under 18 years and three grandchildren
under 15 years have been staying in the toilet for the last two
years as they have nowhere else to go and council has not made any
efforts to assist the victim in securing another house. Victim is
pained by the fact he had been paying rent for this house since
1985 and his name is recorded in the council file but he was just
evicted and lost most of his property and no reason was ever given.
Clients also alleged
that a certain senior official in the housing department (name withheld)
intimidates the public with a gun which she always displays in her
office to threaten anyone who challenges or questions her actions.
Victim alleges that a woman residing in Mbare was recently taken
to Zindoga Shopping centre by Mr Chirwa who told her that she faces
eviction unless she sleeps with him.
Victim advises that she
was summoned by a senior female official in the department of housing
and told that she had to move out of the house. She was referred
to Mr Chirwa to plead her case if wanted to stay in the house. She
went to see Chirwa who informed her that she had to pay $US500 or
sleep with him. Client advises she refused but Mr. Chirwa became
aggressive until client called out neighbours for help. Mr Chirwa
is still persisting in his sexual advances and client does not know
what to do.
Victim advises that she
was staying at the house where she is looking after her late relative's
son. On the 8th of June 2008 client was evicted by Mr Chirwa after
failing to pay $US500 as well as refusing to sleep with him in exchange
for staying at the house. Victim is now destitute and does not know
what else to do. Victim reported the case to the police on the 12th
of June 2009. Chirwa's son (name withheld) is now occupying
the house after the eviction of the victim's family.
A woman (name supplied)
alleged that she was evicted from the house by some Council employees
working with Chirwa. After pleading her case with them, she was
referred to negotiate with Mr. Chirwa. Mr Chirwa told the woman
that she had two options, to pay $US600 or to sleep with him and
bear him a child or else face eviction. Client reported the matter
to Mbare Police station and the police just warned Mr Chirwa and
told the woman that there was nothing further they could do since
there was no tangible evidence. The woman advises that Mr Chirwa
is still persisting in his sexual advances.
Victim advises that she
was forced to vacate her father's house by senior Council
officials. The young woman who is a vendor has no other place to
go as she grew up living in this house until her father's
death; she has no rural home. When client resisted eviction she
was referred to Mr Chirwa. The victim was told that she had to pay
$US500 or sleep with Mr Chirwa. Victim could not raise the required
money but she refused to sleep with Mr. Chirwa and was evicted from
the house. At the moment the house is being rented to someone who
is paying $US100 per month to Mr. Chirwa.
Victim advises that his
family was evicted from their house for no apparent reason. Mr Chirwa
and a group of youths came in the middle of the night and evicted
the victim and his family. The victim asked for assistance from
the council offices and was told by two senior female officials
(names withheld) to pay $US800. Victim's wife also went to
plead their case and was told by Mr Chirwa to either pay $US500
or sleep with him. The house is currently being let out for $US200
by these council officers whilst victim's family which includes
a granny who is in her 80s is living under pathetic conditions.
Ini ndakabatwa naChirwa
nenyaya yokuti ndaida kugara mumba mangu maanga ati ndibude pamusana
pekuti akanga aenda kuna Mai . . . .(name withheld) Vanoshanda
ku Council vakanditi vanoda mari inokwana kuita $800-00. Ndakaishaiwa
mari iyi Chirwa akati kana musina mari iyi mofunga kaviri kubuda
mumba kana kuti ndokuitai mudzimai ndozotaura naMai . . . . (name
withheld) Somunhu anga asina mari vakandibata musure mokudaro ndakagara
mumba ndikati zvapera. Ndakazoona bepa rouya richiti ndibude mumba
asi Chirwa akandishandisa kare. Ndakabuda mumba apa ndirikunzwa
kuti Chirwa ari pachirongwa! Ndirikushungurudzika nepfungwa!"
Rescue us from Chirwa!
Mbare residents have spoken and ALAC calls upon all relevant authorities
to urgently address their plight:
1. The police to immediately
arrest Chirwa and launch an investigation into the allegations of
human rights abuses, sexual abuse, corruption and abuse of council
2. Harare City Mayor to take a position or revisit its policy on
Mbare houses as currently there are so many loopholes being manipulated
by council officials, councillors and unscrupulous people like Chirwa
as these allegations have revealed.
3. The Harare City Council to immediately relieve Modern Chirwa
from his duties as a Council employee as he is abusing and terrorising
residents and ratepayers who are the very people funding council
- he is abusing people he is supposed to serve.
4. To investigate senior council officials at Remembrance building
since Chirwa's alleged corrupt activities cannot be sustained
without support from council officials. The syndicate he is working
with must also be brought to account.
5. Reinstate all families that have been evicted 'illegally'
by manipulative acts of officials like Chirwa including widows and
children of deceased council tenants who have stayed in these houses
If you are a victim,
witness or concerned citizen please call the Mayor of Harare, Muchadei
Masunda on 0772 224 437, the Deputy Mayor, 0773 010 187 the Town
Clerk Mr. Tendai Mahachi on 0772 233 086 and compel them to act
stop Chirwa and his syndicate.
Visit the Transparency
International - Zimbabwe fact
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.