Monday 29 April 2024


GOVERNMENT is in the process of drafting a legal document that will lead to the prosecution of both the illicit seller and buyer of land in the country with a mandatory jail sentence being proposed.

Permanent Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), Engineer Tafadzwa Muguti, speaking at a recent Zimpapers-organised Land Matters Indaba, which was held on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) last week, said never again should the law look at those who illegally sell land yet leave out the buyers.

The indaba was held amid growing concerns over the rise in illegal settlements mainly on prime agricultural land and peri-urban areas. Topics that were covered by the speakers, including the guest of honour, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Professor Obert Jiri, included land distribution and economic development, traditional leadership roles, tackling land barons in urban human settlements, as well as land dispute resolution.

Eng Muguti said illegal allocation of land must and should carry a more severe sentence than stock theft.

He said going forward, people who buy corruptly allocated land will no longer be victims but criminals as well.

“On prosecution, we have now started working on a paper, which will go to the Land Commission and other Government arms like the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to ensure that we now have a two-tier approach to prosecution,” said Eng Muguti.

“We are tired of prosecuting land barons without the beneficiaries. It is known how land is acquired and if you choose that you want to get a stolen bicycle and it’s recovered, you also get arrested, the same approach must be to the issue of land as well.

“Land criminality should carry a heavier penalty than livestock theft. People are getting seven to 14 years for livestock theft, something, which can die naturally. What about something that God doesn’t make anymore?” he added.

Eng Muguti was presenting a paper on the current trajectory of land from a Government perspective and expectations of local authorities. He said one of the grave mistakes during the First Republic era was having “political animals” that used land as a political campaign tool, saying the nation has been badly damaged by the issue of political persuasion.

“At some point in the history of Zimbabwe in the old republic, we have made the mistake of using land to campaign and as a result, we have found it proper that for me to be a councillor, I need to be able to have land to give to people because the demand for land is real, it was there then and it is there till now,” said Eng Muguti.

He said President Mnangagwa has a very clear position on land, which is order and development that is planned transparently and diligently.

Eng Muguti also took the opportunity to implore the media to expose all negative developments and corrupt activities in the distribution and allocation of land in the country.

He said the media’s role was to professionally expose the illicit deals, which erode the power and value of the Zimbabwean land.

“Speak candidly about what needs to be done. There is no country that can attract investment without respect for property rights,” said Eng Muguti.

In February this year, a senior Government official, Joice Munamati, a Manicaland Provincial Civil Registrar was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) over allegations of selling State land after she misrepresented to a buyer that the land was hers.

According to ZACC, Munamati fraudulently sold a 32,5 hectare plot, Subdivision 22 of Wallacedale in Odzi to one Calvin Ziki for US$15 000 after misrepresenting to him that she owned the land.  Herald


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