FOR years it has been a public secret that Zanu PF bigwigs and government bureaucrats, together with all their associates across the Zimbabwean society have been behind the often chaotic urban housing and land allocations. The name “land baron” was thrown about without specific names being mentioned because this cartel of land grabbers had immense influence and so much power that they were virtually untouchable.
And now that Justice Tendai Uchena has presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa the full dossier of the shenanigans that have been happening around land in and around urban areas as well as in farmlands, we expectantly wait to see what happens next.
Cognisant of the fact that this is not the first time that a hot dossier has been produced, we remain sceptical on the action that Mnangagwa’s administration will take on what Justice Uchena and team have uncovered.
Justice Uchena and team have found out that: “The identification and occupation of State land in urban centres (include) complex issues that involved farm invasions, abuse of political offices in allocation and use of top political figures of the ruling party leadership to exert undue influence on government institutions… Allocation to co-operatives, trusts and land developers by the ministry responsible for Lands and ministry responsible for Local Government was very complex. The commission discovered that all land barons are politically-connected.” To which Mnangagwa pledged to act.
However, what has immediately worried many is the President’s reference to the report’s findings as “allegations”.
Many were of the opinion that, because a whole commission had set up, chaired by a member of the Judiciary, to establish the truth, what Uchena and company produced was fact.
Now if these are mere allegations it may mean that nothing may happen to the land barons at the end of the day. If nothing happens to the so-called land barons then it will effectively put powder to assertions that Mnangagwa’s anti-corruption crusade is a useless endeavour, mere bottled smoke.
What is also in the public domain is that the ruling Zanu PF party has been using the land issue in urban areas to win back support that had since 2000 migrated to the opposition MDC.
People in known areas such as Harare South, North and East have been illegally allocated residential stands on State land to shore up Zanu PF’s numbers during elections. So it would be interesting to see how Mnangagwa acts on this issue given that his own party was heavily involved in the chaos on the farms and land in and around towns and cities.