'Council happy with land barons' arrests'

HARARE - An audit or full investigation into the on-going land barons’ saga which has seen several arrests of those implicated is the only way city fathers can establish the veracity or extent of the involvement of City of Harare Council (HCC) officials, an official has said.

HCC spokesperson Michael Kudakwashe Chideme told the Daily News this week that as of now they cannot speculate on how deep the racket is in council.

“Until we get tangible evidence on the involvement of council staffers can we start talking of council employees as accomplices. For now without any evidence it would be unfair to have a blanket statement.”

Chideme said as council they are “very happy that land barons are being arrested. We hope the due course of the law would be followed and those found on the wrong side  would be made to pay for the wrongs they did to society.”

Last week a special team comprising the Zimbabwe Republic Police, ministry of Ministry of Local Government and Urban and Rural Development and the HCC was set up to deal with the issues of illegal land invasions.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the police team is already in place and it has got special investigators. “ZRP would be coming in to assist the Harare City Council, although the exercise will be a national programme as it will go to other areas.”

While several land barons were arrested this week, many are sceptical though as they believe those picked up by police are just the small fish while the bigger fish continue to walk free.

Recently musician-cum-politician Energy Mutodi was dragged to court on criminal charges following allegations of swindling desperate home seekers of several thousands.

During the time, the State had lined up several thousands of witnesses.

However, the businessman and Zanu PF supporter was eventually acquitted after the court ruled that the matter was purely civil.

Former Zanu PF Harare youth league chairperson, Godwin Gomwe is still to stand trial on allegations of also swindling residents of $46 200. He is jointly charged with seven other accomplices.

Media activist Tabani Moyo said there is a never ending challenge of land ownership in Zimbabwe. “This is sad given the mantra that is continuously peddled by Zanu PF that we fought the liberation struggle for access to land.

“Genuine land reform is supposed to bring sanity to land ownership and rights rather than this rise of fraudulent elite enriching themselves using party political muscle.”

Moyo added that the actual land baron is Zanu PF itself using its multiple runners.

“These runners emerge in the form of ministers, and other top party officials who own the better part of Zimbabwe.”

Playwright Silvanos Bhanditi Mudzvova said those arrested are runners for the big fish. “The real land barons will never be arrested as they now have the authority to arrest.

“Zimbabwean courts are compromised, that’s why (Energy) Mutodi despite overwhelming events was allowed to walk free for lack of evidence.

“So what it means is that these guys are just runners, very soon new land barons will emerge, so this circle is just stage-managed to remove others and introduce new ones.”

Legislator Jessie Fungayi Majome said the arrests were just a smokescreen to pacify the “masses”.

“These barons are tadpoles yet their godfathers — the land kings themselves are roaming free. This selective application of the law undermines the rule of law.”

She said there were prominent Zanu PF officials fingered by HCC for illicit mass land deals but the police ignored the reports against them.

“Specifically those brought by the late Councillor Sunshine Mudavanhu of Ward 16 when he was acting mayor — the reports were deflated and he got persecuted for it. An Anti-Corruption Commission with teeth is needed urgently.”

Political commentator Blessing Ivan Vava said those being arrested are just small fish that have been caught “but we know that the arrests are not

going anyway further. This is Zanu PF factionalism at play and it will not be surprising if no conviction is made.

“As this is happening the nation asks what happened to the Salarygate. It was awash in the papers but no single conviction was made so this is one of the many side shows by Zanu PF to try dupe Zimbabweans that they are a responsible government that respects the rule of law. Why has it taken this long to arrest these people? Wasn’t it known that what they were doing was illegal?”

Vava added that Zimbabweans must not forget that this has been the trick of Zanu PF.

“They create situations which they will later on pretend to be solving, it just doesn’t work.”

An international media correspondent says the small fish are always easy to fry; “bigger fish are too big for the four plate political stove! The political will to deal with such culprits is weak. It will always be because we no longer have that value system which rewards progress.

“We reward political loyalty because it raises our political prestige, prolongs our stay in office at the expense of the common good. That is the Zimbabwean tragedy.”

Arts practitioner Elton Mjanana could only say: “The law of the jungle ... that’s what we have become in literal terms. Some animals are hunters others are prey!”

Comments (4)

I think that is little for the council to be happy about maybe its fine just as appeasement for some.There is dire need to address the issue from the roots.When did it start?Who was the responsible Minister or Ministers?How did they handle the issue? From there we would see that there is still a lot of dirty under the carpet.

carson macate - 21 August 2015

Chombo and Zanu Pf were the biggest land barons.Now that Tyson has taken over he is removing Chombo's foot soldiers ,ostensibly to replace them with his own.Ngoma ndiyo ndiyo!

gamatoxweevils - 21 August 2015

Can the responsible Ministry or council fully investigate Mama Mafuyane cooperative.We bought stands way back in 2006 and up until now nothing has been done by way of servicing while we see the chairperson living large

Aaron - 31 August 2015

can council investgate simbai (greylands) in stoneridge

joe - 17 September 2015

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