Thursday 22 December 2022


THE ruling Zanu PF party has turned on land barons that have been parcelling out State land to unsuspecting home-seekers, with spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa telling NewsDay that they will not be protected.

Sources told NewsDay that some party heavyweights that were directly involved in the shady deals had been enjoying immunity, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said the malcontents should be dealt with.

Last Friday, Zanu PF national youth league secretary for education Shepherd Marime and his colleague Denver Mudiwa were arrested by police while resisting demolitions by the Development Control section of the Harare City Council at Greenways in Mabelreign.

Information at hand suggests that the duo led a group of people to invade the land and sold stands to unsuspecting home-seekers.

About 30 stands had been sold.

Sources said the arrest of Marime and Mudiwa was a harbinger for things to come.

Mutsvangwa said the ruling party had no place for land barons, whom he described as criminals abusing the party’s name.

“We don’t support such behaviour and we don’t allow such in the party. In fact, we don’t view these elements as party people. They are people who are using the name of the party for their criminal enterprises, and the President has made it very clear that government will pursue them. They can go to jail,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Government is currently rationalising all the land allocations, bearing in mind that all land belongs to the State.  Land barons took advantage and grabbed some of the land which was recovered during the sequel of the land reform programme. Once you begin to behave like that, don’t try to put the badge of Zanu PF on your forehead. You are just a criminal and that’s it.

“Our sympathy lies with the victims and others who were swindled, and those whose land has been sold several times to different people. Those are the voters. We care more about the voters than the individuals who may try to profess something under the name of the party. The currency of Zanu PF is the vote and anything which jeopardises our vote and land barons are the biggest threat to Zanu PF after the CCC [Citizens Coalition for Change] because they actually drive people to CCC.”

Council spokesperson Innocent Ruwende said: “We have warned and communicated with such people. When council takes them to court and issues them with 24-hour notices, they ignore them. When council orders are given, we have to demolish the illegal structures.”

Ruwende said that was being done without political bias.

“We are an apolitical organisation which follows the law and its dictates,” he said, adding that council had always warned people about getting illegal land from land barons,” he said.

“People don’t come to verify availability and authenticity before acquiring a piece of land.”

Late November, Cabinet announced that government would descend heavily on land barons and illegal settlements.

This year, 347 arrests of land barons were made, with 91 cases before the courts, 57 finalised and six convictions. Newsday


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