21 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Report Land Grabbers to Police, Says Chombo

This follows reports by councillors at a recent council meeting that some municipal officials were working in cahoots with ZANU-PF functionaries to parcel out land to housing cooperatives linked to the revolutionary party without council approval.

"The council is the custodian of the land and they should take the matter to the police. In fact, they have their own municipal police and it is only logical that they use them," said Chombo.

Chombo said his ministry had no business interfering in issues involving council land, adding that the municipality should deal with the land grabbers.

Officials in the Movement for Democratic Change-dominated council claimed ZANU-PF functionaries were using their political muscle to grab council land and dish it out to party supporters ahead of watershed elections next year.

Councillor Prosper Charumbira alleged in a council meeting held on November 8, 2012, that some property dealers were getting land in Harare under different names and selling it to co-operatives and other home-seekers.

"Some senior council officials are meeting political parties to discuss land issues. They meet at Shake Shake Building (ZANU-PF headquarters) and decide which cooperative should get land. The same guys, who are into property sales get the stands, develop them and sell them. If you carry out a thorough audit, you will find out that some cooperatives are getting multiple pieces of land under different names," said Charumbira.

He alleged that some council officials were seen addressing cooperative members, some of whom were building houses on land that was not serviced.

He called on the Town Clerk and the city's director of planning and dousing to resolve the land grab issue as a matter of urgency, saying failure to settle the matter would lead to fights in the high density areas.

Councillor Wellington Chikombo said council officials should warn residents about the risks of buying land from "crooks".

"The invasions, especially on home industry areas, have been going on for a long time and council officials have not shown any sense of urgency in addressing the issue. These people will become uncontrollable as we go towards elections and we ask you, Your Worship (Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda), to intervene as a matter of urgency," he said.

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