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17 Wives, 45 Kids and Living In The Open

For Mr Struggle Dzapasi, of Ushewekunze in Harare South, the struggle continues.

Once a proud owner of a 1,4-hectare plot on which he had built a modest eight-roomed house and was engaged in thriving poultry and horticulture projects, the 52-year-old polygamist is now homeless.

Dzapasi, his 17 wives and 45 children, spent close to two months living in an open space near the Mbudzi Roundabout along the Masvingo-Harare Highway.

A well-wisher came to the family’s rescue, inviting the brood to temporarily stay at his house.
Courtesy of the well-wisher, Dzapasi, his wives and some of his children are crowded in an unfinished three-roomed cottage. Some wives and children have relocated to his rural home in Buhera.

What is left of Dzapasi’s former modest home, which was razed to the ground, are few bricks and piles of damaged roofing iron sheets. A thriving orchard remain undisturbed.
17 Wives, 45 Kids and Living In The Open
He is a war veteran and the Zanu-PF Joseph Msika district secretary. The chairman of the 203-member Mashingi-shingi Housing Co-operative, Dzapasi’s family is the only one, out of the more than 8 000 families, that was evicted from Ushewekunze by CFI, the owners of Saturday Retreat Farm.

He was singled out by the company as the ring-leader of a group of residents who were refusing to pay directly to the company during a bitter struggle for the control and ownership of the farm involving CFI and the Ushewekunze Housing Consortium. The residents were declining to pay for the land directly to CFI, arguing that they would only do so through Government.

Although the dispute has since been resolved, with the residents now paying directly to CFI, it seems the past has come back to haunt Dzapasi’s family. CFI successfully sought a court order which resulted in the destruction of his house.
His family was served with a court injunction barring them from the stand.

A distraught Dzapasi chronicled how the tragedy unfolded. “The drama began in July when I was given a 48-hour notice to vacate my home. CFI went on to acquire a court injunction which they used to destroy my home. The bulldozer crushed everything on site, including the birds and chicken that I was keeping. The cruelty exhibited by the demolishers was of unimaginable proportions,” said Dzapasi.

He says he was never summoned to defend himself in court.
Mr Dzapasi’s house which was destroyed
After the house was destroyed, Mr Dzapasi’s belongings, among them household goods and a car, were dumped along the Masvingo highway.

“I was not allowed anywhere near my belongings. For close to two months, my family slept in the open. The security guard who was engaged by CFI to guard my belongings left and my belongings were looted. I was also not allowed near my property, resulting in it being looted,” Dzapasi narrated.

Taking advantage, thieves stripped his car of essential parts before stealing seven tonnes of maize.
The family is now facing a serious food shortage.
“I can no longer feed my family. That plot was my only source of income. I had a thriving poultry and horticulture project and by now I should have been selling green maize. I married all these wives knowing that I would be able to take care of them. Now, I have been reduced to a beggar and my family is now suffering,” he said.

Now homeless, Dzapasi’s children are no longer going to school. He rues the day when he was elected chairman of the housing c-operative.

Mr Dzapasi house which was destroyed
“I don’t deserve such treatment. I am a war veteran who was among the first group of people to come reclaim land in Harare South. I am not a squatter, we were legally given this land. My family is now suffering because I am being victimised since I am the chairman of the co-operative,” Dzapasi said.
He says he never refused to register his stand with CFI.

“I was never engaged by the company. There were grey areas that I wanted clarified. After all, the three-year grace period has not yet lapsed. CFI think I am a bad influence and want to do away with me.”
Mr Dzapasi has since approached the High Court where he is seeking relief to return to his stand.
“As long as the rule of law is being respected in this country, I will return to my stand. As far as I know, I occupied that land legally,” he declared.

He, however, says he is traumatised and is still searching for answers. “Out of all these people, why did this happen to me alone? Sometimes I think that this is only a bad dream but the truth is that I am now suffering,” concluded Dzapasi.

Questions sent to Mr Panganayi Hare, the CFI company secretary and spokesperson regarding Mr Dzapasi’s fate had not been responded to by the time of going to print. Mr Hare is, however, on record maintaining that residents that are refusing to register with CFI will be ordered out of Saturday Retreat Farm.
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