THE government has designated the area around President Mugabe’s newly-built mansion in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb a protected area.
This means access to the area
will now be restricted as is the case with the environs of State House and Zimbabwe House along Chancellor Avenue.
The designation of the property, in the Helensvale area of Borrowdale, was made through a Government Gazette published last Friday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued the order in terms of Section 5 of the Protected Places and Areas Act.
The oriental-looking mansion, which is situated along Borrowdale Brooke Road, has been under construction for at least three years and is nearing completion. There is speculation that Mugabe would soon be moving into the house tucked away in a thickly wooded area overlooked by several other private homesteads.
Motorists travelling along Borrowdale Brooke Road only have a fleeting glimpse of the property’s blue roof, guarded round the clock by armed members of the ZRP’s Support Unit located strategically at regular intervals along the winding stretch of the road.
Security is now expected to increase in the area. It is however not clear whether the government will close Borrowdale Brooke Road at night as is the case with Chancellor Avenue, which runs between State House and Zimbabwe House.
The Zimbabwe Independent last year heard that officials from the Office of the President had interviewed property owners in the vicinity of the presidential mansion for security checks.
The government has also declared two other properties protected areas, that is Elphida Farm, owned by the state arms company Zimbabwe Defence Industries, and Wilton Pipe Station in Marondera. It could not be established at the time of going to press what Wilton Pipe Station is or what it does.
The Government Gazette said security would be increased in protected areas.
“These areas should be surrounded by a security fence and warning sign posts shall be erected. Visitors will be issued with passes and a visitors’ register shall be maintained at the gate,” the notice said.
Apart from state properties, the only other house Mugabe was known to occupy was his rural home in Zvimba. – Staff Writer.