Emmerson Mnangagwa Aide’s Property Turned Into Rubble
24 March 2024
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In a recent and unexpected development that may highlight deep-seated disputes and legacies stemming from Zimbabwe’s tumultuous political history, the widow of the late Enos Nkala, a controversial figure associated with the Gukurahundi military episodes in the nation, has witnessed the demolition of her family’s business property. This incident, characterized by the total destruction of the Mbalabala premises—a commercial site hosting a service station, restaurant, and ablution facilities along the key Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway—caps off a lengthy and bitter legal dispute over its rightful ownership.

Thandiwe Nkala, who serves as the director of Mbalabala Properties and the widow of Enos Nkala, found herself embroiled in a legal battle with Dr. Jimmy Gazi, a well-known medical doctor who had been renting the premises since 2006. Their confrontation reached its peak when Dr. Gazi, having lost his legal fight to claim ownership, chose to raze the property he was subletting to the ground.

Reflecting on the origins of this contention, Mrs. Nkala recounted, “My husband took a loan from the bank and bought this property in 1989, creating Mbalabala Properties to oversee it. Initially, we rented it to former ZPRA combatants, but then Dr. Gazi came along with an offer.” It was an arrangement that turned sour when Enos Nkala’s health declined, leading to Dr. Gazi’s unsuccessful legal attempts to secure permanent ownership following Mr. Nkala’s passing in 2013.

The conflict was ostensibly rooted in an oral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) claimed by Dr. Gazi, which allegedly promised him the property in exchange for a variety of compensations, including financial support for Nkala’s daughter’s education, a Nissan Terrano, livestock, and cash payments. However, both the High Court and later the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mrs. Nkala, dismissing Dr. Gazi’s claim.

Mrs. Nkala expressed her dismay at the turn of events, stating, “What pains me is not just the loss from these legal battles since 2006, but seeing the property my husband worked hard to acquire being turned into a heap of rubble. This was a barbaric act of vandalism.” She lamented the financial and emotional toll the protracted dispute and subsequent demolition had taken on her and her family.

This incident not only underscores the personal loss suffered by Mrs. Nkala but also casts a spotlight on the enduring complexities of Enos Nkala’s legacy. As a figure embroiled in Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence and subsequent internal conflicts, the ramifications of his actions continue to evoke strong and divided reactions within the nation.

The destruction of the Mbalabala property, therefore, is more than a simple legal dispute gone awry; it symbolizes the broader challenges of property rights, legal integrity, and the ongoing quest for reconciliation and justice in Zimbabwe. It serves as a poignant reminder of the unresolved tensions that persist, reflecting the broader societal struggles to come to terms with the nation’s historical conflicts and the individual lives caught in their wake.- State media/Agencies