Monday, 16 December 2019


THE land audit instituted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has exposed vote-buying by the ruling Zanu PF party, with politicians illegally parcelling out State land in and around urban areas to lure voters. 

“The commission established with serious concern that most new residential estates on urban State land throughout the country have no services such as roads, water reticulation, sewer reticulation and amenities, yet these settlements are already occupied,” the report read.

“The identification and occupation of farms in and around urban areas was a complex process which involved creation of new urban settlements by aspiring or
sitting Members of Parliament as a way of mobilising political support, abuse of political office in the allocation and appropriation of urban State land.” 

The report noted that there was “use of names of top ruling party leadership to exert undue influence on government institutions and processes”.

It emerged that Zanu PF used land as a campaign tool ahead of the 2013 elections that saw then national political commissar Webster Shamu and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, dishing out pieces of land to coax for votes around the country.

However, observers say they expect Mnangagwa to take little or no action on the land matter because the report exposed the rot by the ruling party elite.

Others felt the Zanu PF leader may use the audit to target political foes in his party and government.

“It is unfortunate because it is likely to be the same old story of all rhetoric and no action. The predicament that ED finds himself in is that it is practically impossible to have access to State land for resale without being connected to Zanu PF directly or indirectly. In the process, the action to arrest or rein in land barons becomes a political tool of dealing with anti-Mnangagwa leadership both in Zanu PF and presidency. It becomes more of a political weapon than a genuine exercise of nipping the chaos in the bud,” analyst Alexander Rusero said yesterday.

The opposition MDC said people must not expect any meaningful action from Mnangagwa on the matter since it was a clear case of Zanu PF investigating itself.

“This report is just as shocking as any other reports Zanu PF has instituted in the past. It is just a report without predictable action. We are likely not going to see any action being taken against the offenders,” MDC local government deputy secretary Clifford Hlatshwayo said.

“If anything, it was a case of Zanu PF investigating itself. It is known that Zanu PF used land in and around Harare to buy votes and that is how they won in Harare South, Harare North, Mbare and other places. They are the ones who have stolen State land and this report will yield nothing. It will be used as a political tool to deal with those linked to factions.”

The commission of inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas, chaired by Justice Tendai Uchena, investigated the sale of Sate land in all 10 provinces and discovered that there were 156 cases of State land theft in Harare province, Mashonaland West and East had a combined 195 cases, Midlands 27 and Masvingo 22, among others.

The report, presented to Mnangagwa last week, shows that government is owed more than US$3 billion by beneficiaries of urban State land and showed how the political elite in Zanu PF used land as a political tool.

Documents seen by NewsDay showed that government handed over Hofmoor Estate (Solomio and Cloverdale B farms 598,0956 hactares) in Goromonzi to five co-operatives run by Zanu PF supporters to cajole their over 7 000 membership to vote for the party in 2013.

The land was given to the Zanu PF aligned co-operatives in April 2013, three months before the elections that saw the ruling party garnering seats in MDC strongholds.

After the election, Chombo was quoted admitting that there were some Zanu PF officials who used land to campaign.

In February 2013, government dished out land to the Johane Masowe worshippers as part of its election campaign and told them to vote for the ruling party.

The party also allegedly used space in the city centre and Mbare to seduce vendors to vote for them.

Contacted for comment, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said he was still finalising issues from the just-ended Goromonzi conference, and so could not entertain NewsDay questions. Newsday


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