Land diversion exposes Kasukuwere’s dirty linen

Charles Mabhena

President Robert Mugabe has condemned the corruptly allocation of residential stands to individuals and shelf companies belonging to political bigwigs, some of them alleged to be Saviour Kasukuwere’s cronies, the president made these remarks after he addressed the National Youth Assembly of his party in Harare recently.

As if to confirm Kasukuwere’s alleged wrong doing over stands allocations, there was drama at a youth meeting held in Chitungwiza over the weekend, the youths who attended the meeting wanted clarification on the stands issue. They threatened to beat up ZANU PF Youth League commissar Innocent Hamandishe who is said to be one of the beneficiaries for allegedly defending Kasukuwere.

The meeting was held at Pagomba were tempers flared up as they demand to see the national political commissar who they blamed for giving away their land.

The lands in question include Chishawasha B, Harare South, and Norton. Kasukuwere is alleged to have parcelled part of the land to shelf companies used as masks by the beneficiaries who include his brother Tongai, Betty Kaseke, Terrence Mukupe, Shadreck Mashayamombe, and Walter Magaya among others.

The unimpressed Mugabe reportedly took Kasukuwere to task, before last week’s ZANU PF politburo meeting, who is the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to task over his corrupt land dealings.

The minister tried to convince his boss that there was nothing of that sort happening, but, the irate Mugabe could take nothing of it; “No, no, ndirikunzwa kuti makatengesa, makatengesera ananaMagaya. Makatengesa, makatengesa! (No, no I heard you sold the land to Walter Magaya. You sold it, you sold it!) Mugabe is on record to have told Kasukuwere before last week’s politburo.

Be that as it may, while officiating during the ministry’s National Housing Conference and Expo at a local hotel in Harare in July this year, President Mugabe tasked this same minister to deal decisively with land barons. The President added that it was imperative for everyone to know that land should be acquired using proper procedures.

“I therefore encourage you to tighten your screws, your boxing screws on these land barons who are causing confusion in the sector,” the president told Kasukuwere, adding the ‘boxing screws’ after Kasukuwere’s nickname ‘Tyson.’

Mugabe’s calls came after it was exposed during the conference that some people who were believed to be politically connected were parcelling land in and around Harare illegally scamming the would-be home-seekers of their hard earned cash.

Zimbabwe Institute of Regional and Urban Planners President Percy Toriro says the Caledonia Management Committee which he chairs have conducted some investigations in the area that revealed that there were  over 200 housing cooperatives at Caledonia Farm. He says land barons had turned the area into their little heaven, and disorder was rife with even land earmarked for social services such as schools, and clinics being sold out by land barons for residential purposes.

“It is disheartening that there seems to be few arrests of barons taking place. This is giving them room to continue with their dirty deeds that is prejudicial to both the state and the conned individuals,” he says.

This assertion by Toriro seems to confirm some allegations by analysts that there could be some big political names behind all these shade deals that are providing the wind for the baron to fly. Caledonia was the biggest illegal settlement in Harare, and it is now being regularised.