Kasukuwere fingers Lacoste in land row

HARARE - Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere came out guns blazing yesterday, slating the State media for “pursuing factional agendas” and misinforming the country on land allocations in Harare.

In an interview with the Daily News, Kasukuwere:

- Denied allocating land promised to Zanu PF youths to Walter Magaya

- Denied allocating land to his brother, Tongai

- Accused State media of writing “complete rubbish”.

Kasukuwere, seen as a key player in the G40 faction in Zanu PF that is intent on blocking Lacoste faction kingpin Emmerson Mnangagwa’s path to the presidency, appeared to suggest that State titles The Herald and The Sunday Mail had been captured by the rival faction to besmirch him.

Sources told the Daily News yesterday that the State media directly takes instructions from a Lacoste-linked minister and a permanent secretary who are engineering the attacks on their rivals.

Kasukuwere stormed: “What you have read in the State media is pure malice, malicious lies. We are denied space in The Herald; they lie about me. What type of a paper is that, whose news is just hatchet job after hatchet job? Which land belonging to youths has been sold?”

The Sunday Mail was the first to claim, two weeks ago, that Kasukuwere had “reversed all allocations on the 2 848.77-hectare Chishawasha B farm along Arcturus Road, including 300ha for youths, and instead allocated it to Planet Africa, a firm owned by . . . Walter Magaya.”

The report saw President Robert Mugabe, days later, publicly confronting Kasukuwere just before a meeting of the Zanu PF politburo, and challenging him on reports that he “sold land meant for the youths to Magaya”.

Mugabe personally launched the housing land development scheme for the youths at Chishawasha.

Kasukuwere said upon returning from China in late July, he found a letter recommending the allocation of land to over a dozen organisations and individuals at Chishawasha, and he had instructed officials to halt the process.

The Daily News has a copy of the letter dated July 26, 2016, signed by Local Government secretary George Mlilo and deputy minister Christopher Chingosho, which has the subject: “To seek the Honourable minister’s authority to allocate land for housing development to Chishawasha B measuring 2 848.77 hectares, Goromonzi district.”

The letter then listed all the allocations made at the farm so far to 14 entities, and Kasukuwere — instead of granting the requested approval — wrote on the first and second pages “No” before writing “Reverse” on the last page.

Only yesterday, The Herald claimed that Kasukuwere had “given some of the stands in question to his younger brother Tongai and close associates” — although documents in the hands of the Daily News show that in July, he refused to rubber-stamp the allocations made by officials in the ministry.

“Zimbabweans should suspend their judgment for a moment and interrogate that simple issue. If you look at the letter, I signed it in July — rejecting the proposed allocations. You see, it’s their (State media) lies which are running way, way behind reality,” Kasukuwere fumed.

“They were thinking they could corner Kasukuwere on something, but it’s all a pack of lies. For the record, my brother Tongai has nothing to do with Casewood Investments Pvt Ltd. It’s rubbish. But let’s just say he owns it, shouldn’t I be celebrated for cancelling an arrangement that clearly would have been improper? Remember, I cancelled all the allocations that they were attempting to push through, my officials. How could I now be the one who is guilty?”

The Zanu PF political commissar, a close ally of Mugabe’s wife, Grace, said land that had been allocated at Chishawasha went to government institutions Homelink, UdCorp and the Zanu PF Harare youth league. Those offers had not been rescinded, he said.

He explained: “People were just acquiring land in Harare without paying for it. Now we are saying everyone who acquires land from the ministry must have capacity to build houses for our people, in the national interest. We’ve supported Homelink, we’re supporting UdCorp which is our entity. Other private companies, which is where Magaya and his PHD Ministries come in, can go and talk to UdCorp.

“The land for our youths is intact, land for women intact. Land allocated to youths across the country will not be touched, and we are leaning hard on UdCorp to ensure that this land is serviced.”

Kasukuwere insisted that all beneficiaries of land would pay value, and they were doing so directly to the government.

“It doesn’t come to me. There’s already a valuation carried out for land by the government, the price is set by the government and the money doesn’t come to me. It’s a very well organised programme of ensuring land is handled in a manner that satisfies the objections of our country as espoused in ZimAsset.”

He insisted that the urban land reform was not only geared for Zanu PF youths but any investors, organised groups and organisations that could demonstrate a capacity to build houses to help meet the government’s targets.

“We said the youth of Zimbabwe, not just Zanu PF youths. In this case, the Zanu PF youths came directly to us and we have considered their request. They appealed to His Excellency and we responded.

“We won’t shy away from developing this country because of corrupt types. We have a robust programme of working with youths to build houses and training them. When an economy is where we are, we’ve to embark on major infrastructural programmes, this is what we are doing.

“Some people became offended when they saw this programme’s potential. You see, if you’re a do-nothing-minister it’s okay, if you do your work (they say) why did you work? I’m not going to sit back.

“This is about delivering; this programme has worried so many corrupt people and their successionist cousins in the media who want you to forget that we’re coming from a period of rampant malfeasance where our people lost so much money to cooperatives, where there was no transfer of land.

“People should be in no doubt. If there’re allocations being done and I’m unhappy, I’ll do what I did here. We won’t entertain any corrupt activities; there will be a full cost recovery. All money for land sold has to be recovered.

“The ministry will pursue people holding land who have not paid, and that land will be reclaimed.”

The ministry has gazetted 200ha in Norton for youths, 300ha in Chishawasha, 500ha in Nyatsime and 300ha in Umvutshwa in Bulawayo. Kasukuwere says their target in Harare is to secure 1 500ha.

Comments (12)

land for youths or women are these ophans, widows, and divorcees? We see a situation where a father or husband is a lodger and the wife or child has a stand.

therambo - 14 September 2016

Its best for mr kasukuwere to table is explanation without anger.Simply explain n answer the president.Hasha dzinoreva zvakawanda.Yu want to make us believe president is being used by Lacoste?How lovely for us.thanx.

viola gwena - 14 September 2016

Ichokwadi here kuti Katsvukukuviri ingomwa?

Madhebhura - 14 September 2016

true viola. just calmly and maturely explain yourself. why fret

k - 14 September 2016

Looks like this journalist was paid to do a PR on Kasukuwere. Why didn't the journo take this opportunity to ask about the minister's 50 bed house? I smell a rat.

Marufu Chihwandire - 14 September 2016

Kupaparika vanaKasukuwere nedzungu rakawandisa. Dzikamai.

kays 1 - 14 September 2016

minister kasukuwere we know your leadership potential rattles some people,yu empowered us youths in your previous portfolio much to the chagrin of employment seeking youths from the mdc,now yu have moved in to clean the mess at home affairs and some people are unhappy,we stand shoulder to shoulder with yu cde tyson,just know that yu will be villified by the successionist who call for a succession plan so as to impose their candidate

truth - 14 September 2016

Honourable Kasukuwere should be afforded the opportunity to give his side of the story by the Herald. Likewise this article is one sided since the Lacoste Faction has not been given the opportunity to respond to the Minister's accusation. The Press in Zimbabwe creates problems where none exist and it is time they adhere to their professional ethics. I do not think the President would have publicly humiliated the Minister vasina mafacts. The Minister should answer how he bulit his mansion-where did he get the funds? He should also explain how the Marange Community Ownership Schemes were handled during his tenure in office. If you write anything adverse about a G40 member, he/she will accuse Team Lacoste & vice-versa. It is, therefore, imperative for both factions to come clean on whatever allegations are levelled against them rather than hide under factional agendas.

Chief Charumbira - 14 September 2016

The land must not be distributed on political party lines. Land belongs to every Zimbabwean, regardless of which political party he/she supports. Its like vote buying now using public land. Fuck-off

Goerge - 14 September 2016

At a certain funeral i had a conversation with a gentleman who has a relative journo at dailynews and he was saying Kasukuwere and team plant news in the dailynews and hve journos they pay to lambast lacoste and elevate G40. this one sided story confirms this. Dailynews has been captured by G40.

RealTyson - 14 September 2016

At a certain funeral i had a conversation with a gentleman who has a relative journo at dailynews and he was saying Kasukuwere and team plant news in the dailynews and hve journos they pay to lambast lacoste and elevate G40. this one sided story confirms this. Dailynews has been captured by G40.

RealTyson - 14 September 2016

Saka chitiudzai vaKasukuwere nhasi. Newspaper rekutenga rinotaura chokwadi nderipi, Herald or Daily News?

Lacostestified - 15 September 2016

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