Don’t turn a blind eye on land barons 

Source: Don’t turn a blind eye on land barons – NewsDay Zimbabwe

A RECENT damning exposé by Transparency International Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on shady land deals in urban and peri-urban areas is but a confirmation of an abnormality that our leaders continue to turn a blind eye on.

The Urban and Peri-Urban Land Governance in Zimbabwe: Towards a Corruption-free Transparent and Accountable System report published late last month exposed a grand scheme involving politicians, bigwigs, land barons and bootlickers, who have reportedly over-run councils and traditional leaders in a land rush to amass fresh wealth.

The report further reveals how murky land deals have cost the government almost US$3 billion in unclaimed intrinsic land value. The report quotes the Justice Uchena Commission of Inquiry on urban State land, which detailed the involvement of the politically connected individuals in massive land grabs at the expense of desperate home-seekers.

The illegal land deals have exposed how unsuspecting and desperate home-seekers in Zimbabwe’s major urban centres lose their hard-earned money to cartels that seem to have crafted a complex and complicated web to evade justice.

According to TIZ, unsuspecting homeowners become victims of corruption, yet the people at the heart of corruption remain untouchable. In most incidents, these home-seekers face the double tragedy of losing their money paid to corrupt individuals in acquiring the land and properties they would have built.

TIZ also raises a critical point in that the fight against corruption needs political will, as lack thereof, would see it continuing in perpetuity and we have seen our leaders from President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Cabinet turning a blind eye on the scourge that threatens Zimbabwe’s target to achieve safe cities.

Mnangagwa gleefully received the Justice Uchena Commission of Inquiry report at State House, but since last year, nothing has been done to bring to justice all the corrupt individuals involved.

It is also unfortunate that even politicians from the opposition parties including the MDC Alliance have joined the bandwagon with councillors joining hands with corrupt officials to steal from the State while prejudicing innocent home-seekers.

As we go towards the 2023 harmonized elections, it is time for our leaders, the politicians and everyone in position of political power to start taking a serious look at the rot devouring our urban and peri-urban areas and take action against this scourge.

A stitch in time saves nine.