Commission appointed to probe dodgy land deals

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the sale of State land in urban areas.

A proclamation from Mugabe’s office said the panel would “investigate and identify all State land in and around urban areas that was acquired and allocated to the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for urban development since 2005”.

“Under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President as aforesaid, I do, by the proclamation establish a commission of Inquiry into the matter of sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005,” said the proclamation under Statutory Instrument 102 of 2017.

Headed by Justice Tendai Uchena, the panel is expected to probe and ascertain the status of such land in terms of ownership, occupation and development.

The commission of inquiry also comprises Andrew Mlalazi, Steven Chakaipa, Tarisai Mutangi, Heather Chingono, Vimbai Nyemba and Petronella Musarurwa.

The panel, which will have Virginia Mabhiza, the permanent secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as secretary to the commission, will also investigate methods of acquisition and or allocation by current occupants and owners of such land, and also investigate and ascertain the actors involved in allocations, occupation and use of such land.

The commission will report the president, in writing, the result of the inquiry.

The inquiry comes amid stories of ruthless property developers linked to local political elites making huge profits from the poor amid a land and housing bubble.

The elites, mainly linked to the ruling Zanu PF, are extracting massive rents from dodgy deals, illegal sales and housing scams amid indications the control of urban land has become intensely political.

Urban, especially peri-urban land, has become the centre of major political wrangles.

Ahead of elections, Mugabe’s Zanu PF has been offering enticements to voters to join dodgy “housing cooperatives” controlled by individuals with close ties to the ruling party.

Most of the housing cooperatives have turned out to be bogus, with desperate people left without legal rights to stands often with multiple claimants.

Some have cried foul after being evicted to make way for big-time developers with political connections, while others remained living rough in sub-serviced shacks with limited facilities.

The municipality is also having headaches with land barons who have no respect for by-laws and other statutes governing the development of housing. These land barons use their association with Zanu PF to evade the long arm of the law.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.