Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Chiwenga declares war on land barons

By Moses Matenga

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has started implementing recommendations of the Uchena Commission land audit which implicated several Zanu PF-linked land barons in the illegal sale of State land.

Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Vice President, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has been tasked to implement findings of the probe and bring the culprits to book.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba confirmed the development yesterday.

“Far-reaching meeting on unlawful, irregular human settlements in urban areas,” Charamba said.

“Following findings of the Uchena Commission of Inquiry into Urban State and Municipal Land, the President yesterday gave a directive to set right the mayhem in urban settlements, largely caused by land barons,” Charamba said on microblogging site, Twitter.

“This morning, Vice-President Chiwenga who has been tasked to drive the corrective measures, convened an inter-ministerial, inter-agency meeting during which he gave very strong marching orders to government departments. He also put land barons on sharp notice.”

On February 1, 2018, Mnangagwa appointed a Commission of Inquiry on State land which was headed by retired judge Justice Tendai Uchena.

The commission investigated the sale of State land in all 10 provinces and discovered that there were 156 cases of State land theft in Harare; Mashonaland West and East had a combined 195 cases, Midlands 27 and Masvingo 22, among others.

The report, presented to Mnangagwa in December 2019 and whose contents have not all been made public, 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,” part of 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.”

In his special address on Thursday, Mnangagwa expressed concern over the sprouting of illegal settlements particularly on wetlands across the country, and accused the local authorities of sleeping on duty.

The opposition MDC formations are in control of urban local authorities, but they claimed that their influence was hampered by alleged interference from central government and the recalling of mainly MDC Alliance councillors. NewsDay