Mugabe Nephew Chiyangwa In Land Dispute

Philip Chiyangwa (above), Mugabe's nephew, is involved in a land dispute in the only constituency held by ZANU PF in Harare and is moving to evict hordes of residential stand owners who have been paying for their properties since 2000. He has title deeds to the land, which were issued to him in 2007

Harare, Zimbabwe, 21 August 2009

One of Zimbabwe's most flamboyant businessmen, Philip Chiyangwa, who is also Robert "The Solution" Mugabe's nephew, is involved in a dispute over a farm in Harare South, where hundreds of people who had formed a cooperative face eviction.

The farm, which has been known as Eyecourt Township since 2000 (at the height of farm invasions), has previously been widely advertised in the local press and hordes of people have been paying off residential stands there.

Harare South is the only constituency in the capital that ZANU PF won in the March 2008 elections.

Although the development started in 2000 and the residents, who had also formed a cooperative named after deceased vice-president Simon Muzenda, have produced a letter from the Ministry of Local Government giving them authority over the land and the stands, Chiyangwa claims he is the righful owner.

The businessman, who runs Pinnacle Properties, even produced title deeds to the disputed land. The deeds are dated 2007.

Residents and stand owners are claiming that there were underhand dealings in the way the deeds were acquired by Chiyangwa, but the businessmen, through his Commercial Director, Nigel Munyati, says the courts will have to resolve the dispute.

Chiyangwa is well-known in Zimbabwe for his flamboyance. He is always the first to drive the most expensive cars in the world, as was the case, for example, when he was the first person to import the gas-guzzling Hummer H1. His yellow Hummer cruised the streets of Harare until he announced that he was selling it off because a few others had since been imported into the country and the car was now "too common".

Prior to that, Chiyangwa, who was also a high-ranking member of ZANU PF, had been arrested for spying on ZANU PF Central Committee meetings in behalf of the South African government. He was arrested with a few others who were also alleged to be part of the ring.

Although Chiyangwa was subsequently released (some say because of his relationship with Mugabe), his co-accused continued to languish in jail.

Chiyangwa's Pinnacle Properties is a hyperactive company that has boughtup large chunks of land all over Harare. He is in the process of building a luxurious hotel in the plush Northen suburbs of Harare, as well as building lavish properties in the same area, which he intends to sell "off the peg" and off-plan.

Mugabe has previously publicly referred to him as "Tsuro Magen'a", a reference to the famous Shona fables in which the hare always uses his superior wits to get the better of his enemies and opponents.

There is almost no doubt that, whatever the status of his title deeds to this disputed land, he will win out in the end and hundreds of people will lose their investments as a result.


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