Blessings Mashaya 15 February 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke government is struggling to
complete the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)’s headquarters (HQ)
because of financial constraints, the Senate heard last week.
The building has been under construction for more than a decade.
Local Government deputy minister Christopher Chingosho told a question and
answer session that “economic hardships” were hampering completion of the
“There is a liquidity crunch. We need to accumulate enough funds and
capital to complete construction of this building,” he said.
MDC senator Keresencia Chabuka further questioned Chingosho how government
was going to complete many projects they promised, including building
houses for civil servants.
“Why do you not first of all complete existing projects before you embark
on new ones?”
Chingosho said government was going to engage private partners in other
“The buildings which the ministry is promising to launch . . . are not
going to be constructed using funds from the Treasury, ministry or
government but we have individual organisations and persons who will be
putting money into the construction of these houses,” he responded.
“These are the people who are giving money to the government and
government has to construct the houses for those individuals.
“I promise you, should government have enough money, we will definitely
complete those outstanding building projects.”
Last month, government launched an ambitious programme to build 500 000
houses for civil servants in the next 18 months, as part of its efforts to
reduce the housing backlog and incentivise the restive public workers.
The senators also grilled Chingosho on the land barons issue, saying
government was relaxed in dealing with land barons.
“Are these land barons going to pay any levies, taxes or any amount to
show that they are grateful because they are given this land free of
charge, yet they have a turnover of millions and millions of dollars.
“Are they paying anything to the coffers of the State?” Chiefs’ Council
president Fortune Charumbira asked.
In his response, Chingosho said: “Let me say to you from the onset –
clearly and bluntly, these land barons are not paying anything to the
“When we talk of the derogatory term `land baron’, it means this
individual is using the State land without any permission.”
“They are breaking the law and what we have now agreed on is that whenever
we hear of a land baron, these people have to be arrested because the
State and the local authority are not benefiting anything.
“As I speak to this august House, we have some of these land barons who
have been arrested and are appearing before our courts of law for trial.”