A GROUP of suspected Zanu PF youths in Chitungwiza has reportedly invaded an open piece of land owned by the Anglican Church and subdivided it into residential stands for party members.

The land, which measures about 82 hectares, is located between St Mary’s Police Station and Chikwanha business centre.

The church’s spokesperson Precious Shumba said they were investigating the matter.

“We shall investigate and pursue an amicable solution to the matter. Political party youths should be encouraged to abide by the law and respect private property rights,” Shumba said.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF Harare provincial youth chairperson Godwin Gomwe were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust (Chitrest) spokesman Marvelous Khumalo confirmed the land invasion, saying Zanu PF and MDC-T youths fought running battles over the same piece of land during the just-ended Easter holidays.

“They [Zanu PF youths] invaded and started pegging the land just before the Easter holidays. The invasions were not limited to the church land, but all other open spaces around St Mary’s,” Khumalo said. “The youths claim that the invading and parcelling out of land is part of their empowerment projects as directed by Zanu PF policies.”

This is not the first time that the land has been invaded. A few years ago, former Zanu PF councillor Retired Major Brighton Chirongwe seized the land and pegged 200 residential stands before the Church of the Province of Central Africa took him to court and won back the land. Chirongwe’s company, Chirox Properties, had lodged its designs with the Department of Physical Planning after getting the nod from Chitungwiza Municipality.

Illegal subdivision and building of houses without approval is rife in Chitungwiza. Last year, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo set up a probe team which unearthed massive land scams involving land barons linked to Zanu PF.