AS the Chitungwiza housing saga deepens, the audit report presented by the Local Government ministry shows that village heads, councillors and ordinary villagers were involved in illicit land sales in 21 villages in Seke district.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The audit designed to establish the level of corruption deals in Chitungwiza town and Seke
district, revealed the people involved in the scam parcelled out land on wetlands, fields and pastures among other unsanctioned places.
“Seke District comprises 21 wards of which Wards One, Two, Three and Eight are at the hub of illicit land sales, allocations and developments and a total of 21 villages scattered across the district are involved in the land scam,” reads the report.
“Perpetrators include village heads, councillors, ordinary villagers and to a lesser extent, housing co-operatives.”
The villages named as the worst affected are said to be the ones adjacent to the Chitungwiza boundary namely Chitsvatsva, Mhonda, Kuora, Masona, Chinhanga, Dizha, Nechiva, Chitanda, Chitehwe, Chari, Gwati and Mhundwa.
“The afore-cited groups are indiscriminately parcelling out portions of land on wetlands, fields, pastures, gardens and dip tank surrounds,” the auditors said.
According to the report, when village heads and villagers alike heard rumours of imminent urbanisation in the cited areas, they embarked on an operation code named “Operation Garawadya” (make hay while the sun shines) in order to entice the generality of the population to sell all the land and open spaces they could lay their hands on before local government could supposedly take over.
“Corruption in these communities has become so systematic that even elderly village heads such as Sabhuku Marikopo and Sabhuku Kaseke wanted to bribe the team in a bid to coerce the team (audit) to conceal incriminating evidence. The two elderly men are even well conversant with contemporary street lingo used in illicit dealings,” the report said.
They said as a result of the scam many villages now had an abnormally high population.
“For instance, Mutemi and James Ndava constructed 25 and 19 roomed cluster houses respectively.
On average the two are getting $1 000 each per month in rentals yet they pay Manyame Rural District Council a paltry three dollars in communal development levy per annum. Consequently, there is a high rise in population without commensurate socio-economic facilities such as schools and clinics,” the report noted.
As a result, many villages near Chitungwiza are said to have a semblance of town settlements, resulting in a mixture of housing densities with no provisions for infrastructural services, mainly foot paths, and road access.
“Transparency College, who were allocated a school stand in Kuora village by Manyame RDC are now illegally subdividing the stand into residential stands and have put up substandard structures without council approval,” the report said.