VIOLENT clashes erupted yesterday between Harare municipal police and residents of Eyestone near Waterfalls, who were resisting efforts by council to demolish their structures.
Several people were injured, as they tried to protect their properties, while municipal police, excavator operators and other council employees had to run for their lives, as angry residents bayed for their blood.
Angry residents smashed council vehicles and a few of them later disarmed municipal police officer, Dennis Sithole.
They took his gun before detaining him together with two female officers, Rutendo Chiduku and Mercy Mugwagwa.
The three were also heavily assaulted.
When NewsDay arrived in Eyestone yesterday, some residents were busy reconstructing their structures, while others were interrogating the three officers and demanding the return of arrested residents in exchange for their freedom.
“We don’t understand what these council people are trying to. We have papers to support our stay here and council is fully aware of that,” Thomas Mufuka, the chairperson of Mvurachena Housing Co-operative, said.
“We are law-abiding citizens and people reacted to them because they just pounced on us early in the morning at around 4am when people were still sleeping. After failing in their first attempt to demolish our houses, they came again mid-morning and destroyed some structures, before they were stopped by the people.”
“The case is very clear and council, through the influence of senior Zanu PF officials, are saying they want to take our land and make it a cemetery, something that is absolutely absurd.”
He said the residents invaded the farm in 2000, but later regularised their stay with council following attempts to evict them.
Another resident, Venus Muziva, said they will do everything in their power to defend their stay in Eyestone, adding no one, including powerful Zanu PF and council officials, would succeed in removing them.
“We asked for an eviction order from council, but they didn’t have any. Furthermore, they went ahead to destroy our structures and that infuriated the people here. Council should have told us in time before doing something irrational like destroying our properties we are building amidst these economic hardships,” she said.
Others claimed residents assaulted by municipal police were in a critical condition.
NewsDay witnessed the three municipal cops begging for forgiveness, saying they had participated in demolishing people’s properties out of fear of being sacked at work.
Harare City Council spokesperson, Michael Chideme said he was not aware of the clashes in Eyestone.