Soldiers Forcibly Take Over Houses Earmarked For Diaspora Investors

This is an example of the homes in Westgate, Harare. It turns out now that some of the homes, which were earmarked for Zimbabwean investors from the Diaspora, have been forcibly moved into by uniformed forces people. The Reserve Bank, which instigate the project, is reluctant to talk. The Bank that was in charge of the project has gone bust, a victim of the crackdown some time back by Gideon Gono, which saw several banks lose their licences. The two companies who are subsidiaries of the bust bank are also reluctant to say anything on the matter, but we witnesses first hand this reality, with one of the uniformed men openly boasting that he had simply taken over the finished home.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 November 2009

Some of the houses in the Westgate area that were built for Zimbabweans in the diaspora have been forcibly taken over by various senior army officers.

Most of the houses are in the relatively affluent suburb of Westgate in Harare. These homes were built during the heydays of Gideon Gono, when he was seeking to tap into the money from Zimbabweans abroad. 

The Westgate homes were built through a facility administered by the now defunct Time Bank, costing thousands of US Dollars each. Zimbabwean citizens living abroad were supposed to channel their money through the banks,, either as lump sum payments or in the form of some sort of mortgage arrangement.

Now some of them appear to have lost out. There are high-ranking officials who have simply moved in and it appears the Reserve Bank can not do anything about it.

There are two companies still operating that are linked to Time Bank and to the Westgate project, but when I contacted one of the representatives, they were evasive about the presence of army people in the diaspora homes, saying the homes were a Time Bank project and that they would not know about any soldiers or anyone else having moved into those houses.

Asked whether they were still collecting money for mortgage payments from the Diaspora Zimbabweans, the representative said Time Bank no longer existed and he did not know what the new arrangement was!!

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the instigator of the project, refused to say anything about it, saying anyone interested in information about the project would have to speak to the two companies "who are on the ground."

We are aware of at least seven homes from the area that have been taken over by senior uniformed people and one of them boasted that he had simply moved in "zve ganyavhu" - meaning "forcibly".

It would be interesting to hear from those who participated in this particular scheme whether they have their homes now or whether there are any who have failed to take possession of them. It could well be that the homes taken by these people had not yet been allocated to any of the beneficiaries


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