Thursday, 11 November 2021

ZANU PF LAND BARONS CREATING CHAOS IN TOWNS

ZANU PF has expressed concern over land corruption involving some of its members and has admitted that they have grabbed thousands of hectares around the country, creating illegal settlements and throwing town planning into disarray.

The party’s information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi early this week told NewsDay that the law would take its course on land barons regardless of their political affiliation.

His comments followed recent revelations made in a report by the Zanu PF land reform and resettlement committee, handed to the central committee at the recently held Zanu PF annual conference in Bindura, which expressed concern over land corruption by party members.

“The invasions, which are being orchestrated by the so-called land barons, co-operatives and other consortiums, which seem to have the backing of high-profile individuals in political positions and government offices, have illegally taken ownership of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land around cities and towns and in the process, creating hundreds of thousands of illegal housing stands, for absolutely no benefit to the State,” the report read in part.

Mugwadi said the central committee report was a “private report exclusive for party members only”, adding that he could not comment on its contents to the media.

“But generally, the position with regards to land barons has been made very clear that the law must take its course to deal with those elements despite their rank or political affiliation,” Mugwadi told NewsDay.

The report stated that politicians and government officials were involved in massive land theft, and the committee felt that this could cost the party votes ahead of elections in 2023.

It blamed government officials for their failure to implement a 2018 report on the land audit, as well as failure to bring those responsible to book.

In 2019, President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered a land audit on State land, and appointed a commission headed by Justice Tendai Uchena to carry out investigations.

The report is yet to be made public.

“Government officers in district offices should desist from corrupt practices as most of the cases brought to the department of land reform and resettlement lately are of aggrieved and evicted individuals affected by the corrupt actions of those officers.

“Despite previous pleas for sanity to be brought into the land baron and co-operatives chaos prevailing in the cities and other metropolitan areas, especially Harare and Chitungwiza where some individuals seem to think that corruption pays as they get away with stealing and selling State land, this continues as nothing tangible seems to happen to them and these daring corrupt individuals have become billionaires overnight all in full view of the majority,” the central committee report read.

Despite the issues raised in the report, the ruling party has been using land to woo votes towards elections.

In September this year, Mnangagwa announced a plan to empower the youth in agriculture, promising them that government will avail 500 hectares of land, and 600 cattle in each province and input support to the youths. Newsday

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