Moves by government to put an end to illegal housing structures in Chitungwiza and other areas is a wake-up call to thousands of people who heeded calls by Zanu PF leadership to build houses on land that did not belong to them.
Over the past few years, Harare has seen a proliferation of housing co-operatives that have seized private land and went on to allocate stands to their members without obtaining regulatory approval.
Overnight, illegal structures emerged in many suburbs, ruining the value of properties on well-serviced land nearby. These co-operatives spearheaded by party officials and war veterans intensified their activities as the country headed towards the July 31 elections, when crooked Zanu PF officials offered stands to those who promised to vote for them.
Bylaws governing the construction of houses in urban areas were set aside as co-operatives such as Joshua Nkomo, Leopold Takawira and Ushewokunze housing co-operatives took shape.
The strategy worked as Zanu PF secured victory in constituencies where there is a high concentration of housing co-operatives.
But three months after the elections, the beneficiaries of the illegal stands are being confronted with the dreaded news that their properties face demolition.
In Seke alone, 30 000 people who spent thousands of dollars developing illegal structures in Manyame Park, are having sleepless nights after Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo threatened to demolish their houses. It is the same situation in other suburbs where houses were constructed without following laid down procedures.
Politicians promising free stands during election times can only lead the gullible up the garden path.
Home-seekers should know that they can never be shortcuts: urban housing stands, no matter how costly they may be, should be acquired and developed following proper procedures as prescribed by council regulations.
Putting all faith in Zanu PF politicians, who only in 2005 spearheaded the widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina, which left 700 000 people without shelter, can only prove costly in the long run.