There have been rumours swirling on social media that the government of Zimbabwe plans to spin out Epworth as a town in the next coming months or years. For all we know these are just rumours but in an apparent bid to facilitate that, the government promised a lot of the informal settlers who occupy most of Epworth’s suburbs with title deeds back in March 2022. The promise included other informal settlers but the largest contingent of beneficiaries would be in Epworth.
The fact that informal settlers in areas like Epworth would be receiving title deeds was confirmed by Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe after he had been quizzed about the promise made by President Mnangagwa. Minister Kazembe responded by saying that he remembered the promise that the president had made and the government was still committed to it. According to Hon Kazembe, there is an ongoing conversation to fulfil this promise.
He said the whole endeavor was a process that involved a lot of procedures including surveys which have to be done in conjunction with the Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry. This survey stage is currently underway with some areas having already been surveyed. At the moment most stands are not officially marked out or demarcated. Those occupying these lands often have an oral longstanding agreement with their neighbors marking out the boundaries. Despite this, boundary disputes are frequent and often turn violent.
After the survey, then it will be determined where demarcations are and the like. So I would like to promise you that it is just a matter of time, but I believe that if Murwira was in the House, he was going to inform the House that there are some areas which are already done. What is left after the survey is the issuing of title deeds.
Minister Kazembe Kazembe speaking before Parliament
It is surprising that Epworth is not already a town
The Epworth Local Board, which falls under the ambit of the Harare City Council has made a lot of strides in preparing the satellite settlement for town status. Their crown jewel comes in the form of Glenwood High-Density suburb which is probably one of the most well-executed stand deals of the past decade. The suburb is proof that the board is ready to manage the place and can do so competently. Even the roads and signage in the area have been updated and well maintained for the past couple of years.
When you consider data from the past two censuses it is rather surprising that Epworth is not already a town. The place already has a bustling population of 206 000 people according to the latest data which is a massive increase from the 140 000 counted in the 2012 census. The neighborhood is not exactly part of Harare either as it and Hopely managed by Local Boards under the watchful gaze of Harare City Council. That might seem sensible until you consider the fact that if Epworth was to be formally declared a town it would practically be a city larger than Gweru, Kadoma and Masvingo. How can Ruwa be a town and Epworth fall under the Local Board?
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