Land barons put on notice

Source: Land barons put on notice | The Herald May 3, 2017

Felex Share Senior Reporter
First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday said authorities responsible for land allocation in urban areas must be held accountable for their cruelty of watching people erect houses on illegal land without stopping them, only to pitch up to demolish the completed structures.

She said it was disheartening that those in charge of land allocation chose to turn a blind eye when people build houses on the illegal land.

Amai Mugabe made the remarks while handing over a house built by Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) to revolutionary musician Dickson “Cde Chinx” Chingaira in Harare.

“There are questions we are asking and we want answers,” she said.

“Someone must answer these questions out there, kuti ndiani akambopa land iyoyo, ndiani akasainira, who was the councillor during that particular time, how did it go?

“We want to get the real story, not only the chorus that people built on undesignated land. I saw this happening and you all saw it. Inga huku nembudzi dzedu topfigira wani, what about a person?”

Local authorities, together with the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry are responsible for urban land.

Amai Mugabe went on: “You see someone building his or her house from the foundation level to window and roof level until completion, then when they are about to move in, someone comes and says it’s an illegal structure.

“Payaisimuka pese ipapa manga musingazvione here and you think we are all blind, we don’t see. Hutsinye hwakadaro hauite.”

Several houses have been destroyed in various suburbs in Harare and other towns, with nothing happening to those who superintend over the mess.

The First Lady said due diligence was needed before demolitions, with culprits being brought to book.

“Why don’t we go deeper, investigate issues, how it all started, how that piece of land was allocated to that particular person for him to say I own that land and the onus is on me to ensure development,” Dr Mugabe said.

“We leave them to develop while relaxed and happily, only for someone to come with a bulldozer to destroy. That’s unfair, let’s think again. People will be watching and they will never support you in future when you encounter your misfortunes.”

Dr Mugabe said people would have invested a lot of resources building those houses.

“You know we are living in hard times and we are working hard to eke out a living,” Dr Mugabe said. “Cde Chinx ekes out a living from singing and sings all night and sets aside something to construct a house and tomorrow someone comes and demolishes that house.

“Handifunge zvinoendesa nyika mberi izvozvo. I am seeing bulldozers every day destroying houses. These perpetrators who would have allowed people to build should be brought to book. You cannot just destroy someone’s house just like that and go scot-free.”

Some leaders, the First Lady said, did not have people at heart and concentrated on lining their pockets.

“There are people who are retrogressive, who just think about themselves and lining their pockets when in positions,” she said. “They don’t care about others.

“Authorities, I hope you will heed this call, we don’t want you to allocate land in a dubious and unscrupulous manner. We are not here to make each other suffer, but happy. Despite our positions in society, all our basic needs are the same, whether you are in Zimbabwe, South Africa or England.”

A number of land barons said to be working with some council and Government officials have emerged in recent times.

These connive to allocate land for residential stands to unsuspecting residents, who end up losing their money when their houses are destroyed for being built on illegal land.

Some land barons have been appearing before the courts where they produce papers from councils to prove they had been authorised to allocate the land by the authorities.