Land commission descends on Manicaland Province

HARARE - The Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land will descend on Manicaland Province tomorrow for a three-week visit during which it will gather evidence and testimonies.

The visit, to run from tomorrow to September 21 will particularly be targeting Rusape, Mutasa, Mutare and Chipinge.

In a statement yesterday, the commission said it will be targeting people who bought State land handed over for urban development and those involved in double and multiple allocations.

It will also target individuals and companies allocated stands on spaces meant for the building of schools, clinics, roads, recreation sites, among others who might have been “prejudiced or displaced in any way by the re-allocation, re-surveying and or re-pegging of stands”.

“The commission would like to inquire from people of the above category who have been threatened, harassed, victimised, or forced to pay subscriptions, rentals or to vacate stands against their will without due process,” the statement reads in part.

This comes as government has said the reports received so far on the land audit were appalling.

Addressing Zanu PF supporters at a campaign rally last month at Friendship High School in Hatcliffe, Harare, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the long arm of the law would soon catch up with the culprits.

“We are tying up the land audit initiated by President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa on how the land is being used in the city and other towns across the country,” Chiwenga said.

“The report we have received is appalling and we are taking measures to address the issue.”

Chiwenga warned land barons that their days were numbered, saying it was time to restore sanity and protect people from them.

He said land barons were causing havoc in many settlements across the country, fleecing unsuspecting home-seekers of their hard-earned cash and parcelling out stands on State or council land designated even for other uses.

“We say today is the end of land barons,” said Chiwenga adding “we shall leave no stone unturned to address the issue.

“I want to emphasise that there are no scared cows.”

The Zanu PF government blames opposition MDC-led councils for the chaos obtaining in most urban centres, owing to mismanaged urban sprawl.

Chiwenga said the Harare City Council should stop collecting revenue from the struggling ratepayers because it was allegedly not providing good service.

“The current state of affairs is appalling here in Hatcliffe,” Chiwenga said adding “Harare is collecting revenue from you, but there is no functional sewer and water reticulation system to justify their action”.

“Refuse is not being collected.

“We are saying you cannot continue losing your cash to the local authority. Stop paying council until new regulations are put in place.”

On the other hand, the MDC disputes Chiwenga’s assertions arguing that instead it is Zanu PF and the central government that should shoulder the blame.

Successive MDC mayors since the year 2000 when the MDC grabbed control of most urban councils in the country have accused successive Local Government ministers of meddling in the running of local authorities for political expediency and stalling service delivery in the process.

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