ILLEGAL settlers who have set up camp along the Avondale Creek for about four years now were last week back to haunt residents of Kensington whose properties are near the area as they blocked roads in a move suspected to have been an attempt to waylay motorists.
On Monday last week (May 8, 2023), the illegal settlers are reported to have blocked Kenny Road in Kensington in the evening using bricks they took from a property along the same road.
“The squatters blocked Kenny Road, Kensington, with bricks around 8pm. They used the bricks that were outside Number 6 Kenny Rd to block the road. The intention was to obviously way-lay motorists who would have stopped their vehicles to remove the bricks. I was coming from the shops when I saw this in time and removed the bricks before anyone encountered any trouble. We also observed that some of the bricks had actually been stolen from 6 Kenny Road,” said a resident.
On Thursday last week (May 11,2023), around 0400 hours, residents heard shouts of people along the Avondale Creek and it turned out that the illegal settlers had stolen some tobacco bales from trucks passing by.
“Around 4am this morning (May 11, 2023), my gardener was awoken by shouts of people moving behind our durawall along the Creek. It turns out the squatters had stolen some tobacco bales from a moving truck. They got into the truck by the traffic lights at the intersection of Argyle Road and Prince Edward Street.
“The moving truck was oblivious to what was happening until another motorist warned them. I understand some of the stolen bales were recovered behind our back walls along the Creek in the Kensington area. I have just been informed that most of the squatters have since been rounded up by Avondale Police,” said a resident.
Kensington residents said they now live in fear of the illegal settlers as several houses close to the Creek have been burgled.
The illegal settlers also burn toxic plastic materials at will to the inconvenience of residents, residents said.
“Despite our pleas for the removal of the squatters to council, nothing or no solution seems to be found to this menace. We are still appealing to council to please help us get rid of the squatters,” said an affected resident.
Last year in August, residents of Kenny Road experienced another fire allegedly caused by the illegal settlers who have been living along a river in the Avondale Creek area.
An affected resident Mr Thomas Kanjere said the fire started at his house at Number 8 Kenny Road before it moved to his neighbour’s property at Number 10 along the same street.
Fortunately, there were no injuries or damage to people and property that were reported during the fire.
Mr Kanjere said this was the sixth fire allegedly caused by the illegal settlers since 2016.
“Luckily I have been around when the fires occur.
“One cannot imagine if I was away or there was no one,” said Mr Kanjere.
He said the City of Harare is the authority responsible for relocating the illegal settlers.
Over the years, Kensington residents have been complaining about the illegal settlers who have set up their base behind Avondale shopping centre saying they were responsible for criminal activities in the suburb.
Early last year, the perennial problem of the illegal settlers fuelling crime in Avondale and Kensington cropped up again with residents saying the settlers were selling drugs and other harmful substances to youths in the suburb.
The illegal settlers were said to have found a new avenue to earn some money through selling drugs, which are destroying the lives of youths in the area while young girls are being lured into prostitution.
Concerned residents have been pleading with the City of Harare to remove the illegal settlers who are living near the Avondale stream from where they sell drugs and engage in other nefarious activities.
Residents feared that if the situation is not brought under control, youths in the suburb will be exposed to all sorts of drugs and despicable behaviour.
Four years ago, residents living along Kenny Road petitioned council over noise and environmental pollution caused by the illegal settlers living at the back of their properties at Avondale Creek in Kensington.
In their petition to the City of Harare, the residents complained that their living standards and the values of their properties were being lowered as a result of the activities taking place at the illegal settlement.
They said Avondale Creek is council land and therefore the municipality should monitor what is taking place on its land.
Avondale Creek is attractive to the homeless because of easy access to water in the nearby stream while recycling companies were reportedly visiting the illegal settlements to buy recyclable materials such PET bottles from the settlers.