Zanu PF Minister Intensifies Harare Land Invasion Ahead of Zimbabwe General Elections in 2018

Charles Mabhena|zimnewsnet

As the problem of squatters persist in the capital city of Zimbabwe, City of Harare councillors held a Full Council meeting on 4 August 2016 at Town House, where they expressed concern over the continued illegal land invasions, amid reports of parcelling of land by MPs for political mirage.

This was not the first time that council expressed dismay over politicians interfering in local authority’s affairs, particularly land parcelling. Of note was Minister of Local Government Savour Kasukuwere’s dishing out 54 residential stands in Kambuzuma to Zanu PF youths without consulting Harare City Council under whose jurisdiction the land lies.

In the previous full council meeting, councillor Wilton Janjazi raised the same issue again to council about minister Kasukuwere’s giving out of council land to his party supporters behind the local authorities’ back.

He said it was disheartening that the minister would act without communicating with council; he was referring to the land commonly known as ‘Kumapaddocks.’ “We were scheduled to visit the place with the minister and map the way forward, only to be surprised that the minister had already given the land out,” he said in the meeting.

Councillor Girisoti Mandere of Ward 45, Kuwadzana Phase 3, inquired to the house during the recent meeting that they had agreed that there should be a press conference to avoid new land invasions, and this had not happened. However, according to the responsible committee, the proposed press conference could not be carried out as planned after the date coincided with recent demonstrations.

Ward 44, Kuwadzana Extension councillor Resias Masunda (Ward 44, also weighted in, saying the problem was that there were politicians who are encouraging such things to happen. “There are MPs as well in Harare who are involved in the interruptions of the process of council. We have a challenge of politicians who do not understand their roles,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe People First (Zim PF) Mashonaland Central provincial youth leader Titus Manyika speaking at a rally in Glendale early last month took a swipe on Kasukuwere  for trading out local authorities land to his part supporters in exchange for votes.

“If you are a government that is centred on doing the will of the people, there is no need to give youths land in exchange for votes. Why now for that matter, that is clearly an act of corruption and vote buying,” he said.

He urged local authorities in all Zimbabwe’s urban centre to stand their ground and deny being cowed into submission.

Meanwhile, the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) suggests that the policies that govern housing such as house waiting lists should be put into practice. Those that are allocating land as political campaigns should be exposed because at the end of the day they are the ones who are causing demolitions.

Councillor Martin Matinyanya (Ward 4, Mbare), said before a person put a structure on illegal land council should take action and that council should monitor such developments before residents lose their properties.  Ward 27, Glen Norah councillor Hebert Gomba said that everyone in Zimbabwe should follow the system not to build houses on illegal land and expect council to sympathise with them.

Councillor Charity Bango (Ward 41, Marlborough), commented that it is prudent to advise the local councillor when planning to sell stands in the area because at times the councillor may not be aware of the situation. I have had that stand 951 was advertised in the newspaper. But that land is a school site, it was an open space which was changed into a school site, why is it being sold.

Kasukuwere has of late been struggling to control local authorities especially in urban areas who are largely members of the opposition parties.