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High Court bars new museum project construction

HIGH Court judge Justice Felistas Chatukuta has ruled in favour of Kubatana Arts and Craft Centre Co-operative and barred the Institute of African Knowledge from constructing a museum at the co-operative’s stand in Warren Park, Harare. BY CHARLES LAITON Justice Chatukuta’s order was issued on Wednesday this week, days after Justice Sylvia Chirawu Mugomba issued another order interdicting the City of Harare from evicting members of the co-operative from stand number 5797, where the government intended to set up a Museum of African Liberation. Justice Chatukuta issued the order following an application for an interdict by the Arts and Craft Centre after the City of Harare went to the centre armed with an eviction and demolition notice. In its application, the co-operative cited Institute of African Knowledge, Tonderai Katsande, City of Harare, Local Government and Public Works minister July Moyo and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga as co-respondents. Last week Thursday, Kubatana Arts and Craft Co-operative Society also took the City of Harare to court seeking an order declaring null and void the cancellation of an agreement of sale relating to the same piece of land. Chairperson Gideon Chidongo said the co-operative had been occupying the stand since 1992, but efforts to have the same stand transferred into its name had been futile. Chidongo said the co-operative was shocked when on November 11, 2020, the City of Harare delivered a notice cancelling the agreement of sale for the stand and ordering members to vacate the premises. “This is an application for an order declaring the cancellation of an agreement of sale between respondent and the applicant relating to Stand 5797 Warren Park Township, Harare, null and void,” the notice read. Chidongo said he paid the purchase price in instalments and referred the court to attached copies of receipts for the deposit and final payment for the stand. Said Chidongo: “Applicant connected water and provided sewage reticulation to the said stand and installed electricity on it.” He said the co-operative constructed toilets and some buildings on the stand designed for the purpose of operating an art and craft centre and had been enjoying undisturbed use of it. The decision by council to dispossess him of the land purchased 28 years ago was motivated by ulterior motives, he said.

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