via Banning housing Co-ops is the wrong solution – The Zimbabwean 29/01/2016 by Vince Musewe
This government never ceases to amaze me. We have a situation where thousands of aspiring home owners where clearly duped by ZANU(PF) property barons in cahoots with ZANU(PF) youths and the ministry of local government and housing and the reaction by this government is to ban housing cooperatives.
That is a ridiculous response that shows a clear lack of appreciation of the dynamics in this sector of the economy. We all know that ZANU (PF) has been allocating stands in peri-urban areas to its supporters in a bit to garner legitimacy and buy votes. As a result thousands of naive residents rushed to buy stands without checking that the necessary approvals where in place. This has happened throughout the city.
Now we have a situation where they are being evicted and reallocated stands elsewhere in order to quell what is to me a ticking time bomb. The government then reacts to the results of its own graft by banning co-oops. That is clear stupidity.
It is a shame that Zimbabweans never learn. Once more we face a situation where fraud has been committed and people are actually happy to be merely relocated without compensation. Where are they going to get the funds to rebuild and what is going to happen to those who “sold” the stands and took their money in the first place?
There is really nothing wrong or illegal for a group of aspiring home owners to come together and pool their resources together for any purpose. This right is enshrined in our constitution.
The issue here is the registering, administration and the regulation of such entities. There is no doubt that many citizens have been duped by unscrupulous fraudsters but that does not mean the housing coop model must be banned. That is a lazy and expedient response.
Instead we should rather look at putting together a well thought out frame work for the pooling of funds for housing coops. This framework can for example allow registered financial institutions to be the sole administrators of housing coops who will then ensure that the funds are properly administered and that they engage credible property developers and that stands for members are only bought legally.
The ownership of property by many is critical for wealth creation, economic growth and stability. The uninformed banning housing coops eliminates the opportunity for many to own their own homes without having to go into debt. That is bad for the economy.
In my opinion this is a crisis created by ZANU (PF) and because there are no ethics and accountability in this government. Those who were part of this property scam are now denying that they authorised the allocation of housing stands in the first place. They are all blaming technology claiming that it is easy to create fake documents! What a circus.
I encourage our human rights lawyers to get involved here so we can expose monumental fraud committed by ZANU (PF) and its cronies.
It’s time for change!
Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on email@example.com