Commission lashes out at ‘dubious’ land developers

BY JAMES MUONWA/NUNURAI JENA

THE Land Commission, appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to investigate the sale of State land, opened its hearings in Chinhoyi on Wednesday, where it exposed “dubious land developers” who included top Zanu PF officials.

The Justice Tendayi Uchena-chaired probe team raised concern over the calibre and capacity of some of the land barons who were allocated State land, but had, until now, not developed infrastructure to enable beneficiaries to move onto their stands.

The commission also raised a red-flag over some land developers and questioned their capacity to deliver.

The developers include Defence and War Veterans Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri’s daughter, Tanya Rushesha who is director of Tabularasa (Pvt) Ltd.

The company was allocated 30 hectares of land in 2013 and created 624 housing stands. Tabularasa has, to date, not serviced the area.

Beneficiaries are yet to move onto their stands which do not have water and sewer reticulation systems.

Other developers who got land include Millypack (Pvt) Limited owned by Zanu PF youth league deputy secretary for economic empowerment, Mike Chimombe (30
hectares) and Zanu PF-linked Reverend Obadiah Msindo, the proprietor of Destiny for Afrika Network who received 75 hectares.

Commissioner Heather Chingono said she was not amused by the lack of development, despite land developers having layout plans approved.

She questioned the criteria used by the Local Government ministry in identifying developers, insinuating “most don’t have the capacity and experience to
effectively do their work”.

Chingono grilled Local Government provincial planning officer Sekai Matimba, who struggled to answer questions put to her.

“Do you have selection criteria for developers? Did you have allocation criteria as a department and what has happened to the land you parcelled out to private
land developers, since 2013?” quizzed Chingono.

“We are struggling to see what substantially has been done six years down the line.”

Responded Matimba: “No, we do not have the criteria as these memorandum of agreements are done at head office. We don’t even know what conditions are there.”

Justice Uchena lamented the collapse in governance systems that has resulted in lack of accountability, poor work ethics and procedure lapses.

Zanu PF Zvimba South MP and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa also came under the commission’s radar after it was discovered that his Chinhoyi Citrus Farm, situated on the periphery of the town, was not on the list of farms earmarked for urban expansion.

Chingono asked why Citrus Farm was precluded from the list, prompting provincial lands officer Malvin Mhaka to disclose that the farm was repossessed following
the withdrawal of the mogul’s prior offer letter.

The probe continues today with Chinhoyi Municipality officials led by town clerk Maxwell Kaitano expected to appear before the panel.

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