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“The ball is mine, it’s out, and you’re the one who kicked it, so it belongs to us opponents,” these were the fascinating chants by children unwittingly playing soccer on Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s land, when 263Times arrived in Waterfalls Retreat on Saturday.
The land which has sparked controversial blows between UFIC and residents ended when the high court ruled that the man of cloth was its rightful owner.
On 24 January 2023, Waterfalls Retreat residents received eviction letters from the high court, which gave them a grace period of three days to vacate the land.
But the bellyaching residents had questions when 263 times interviewed them on the current land dispute.
One anonymous resident said, “We are afraid, we don’t know the truth, because these eviction letters have 48 names, of which the affected area has 300plus people, so we are now confused if the papers are legit or not.”
He added that the beleaguered residents were willing to pay prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa so that the eviction letters will be nullified.
“If the prophet said we should go, we don’t deny, but we now ask Makandiwa to be merciful. If he wants us to pay, we can pay him for this land. Can it be possible for us to cry when we are dealing with the man of God?” said one of the residents.
Another resident said those who gave them eviction letters on January 24 promised no mercy to the residents if they delay to vacate the land within the stipulated days.
She said, “Those who came with these papers said they will leave us at Seke Road bus terminus if we ignore the court order.”
Meanwhile, UFIC spokesperson, Pastor Prime Kufa, said they no longer have powers to help the grumbling residents because the time is up.
“The Prophet gave them some time to vacate, which was a very considerate thing for him to do. And we expect that by now they should have vacated the land and taken their valuables. What is happening to them is very unfortunate, but not in any way caused by us, and I think Prophet Makandiwa was magnanimous enough to consider their plight and give them a grace period which, unfortunately, has come to an end,” he said.
Kufa added that UFIC cannot compensate the grumpy residents, advising them to search for residential stands on other vacant Harare suburbs.
“It is easier for them to seek land elsewhere than for us to do so, because these are individuals, and one can get land in Hatcliffe, another in Ruwa and etc. We aim to put a school and an orphanage there, among other things, and the land is not enough for all we want to do, so trying to accommodate those people is out of the question,” he said.
The eviction letters come after on September 19, 2022, under case no HC3515/21, when UFIC secured a court order to demolish about 300 illegal structures which were built on the piece of land secured by its congregants for a housing scheme, Operation Nehemiah Housing Project in Waterfalls Retreat.