Jail sentence for land barons-Min Moyo

Wellington Zimbowa

PRELIMINARY reports from land scam investigating teams across the country already shows the inevitable jailing of many council and political party leaders regardless of rank or file, Local Government Public Works and National Housing minister July Moyo has said.
Speaking, recently at the Gender Links Local Governance Awards Dinner in the capital minister Moyo said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration was ‘violent’ against land scam practices.
Minister Moyo said reports from investigation teams countrywide were gloomy for lawbreakers, as the law will take its full course and culprits set for jailing.
He warned gathered councillors and town officials to prudently carry on town planning activities in accordance with the law to ensure community development while incorporating gender sensitivity to stimulate the needs and aspirations of women.
“Our investigating teams are busy on the ground tackling the issue of land barons and the results are not pleasing, as more people are going to jail.
“I want to reiterate that President Mnangagwa’s leadership together with his vice presidents is violently against land barons and they will certainly be jailed,” stressed Minister Moyo.
“The reports from the task teams are not pleasing and people are going to jail no matter their positions. I wouldn’t want to spoil your dinner,” he said.
Minister Moyo seemed overwhelmed and with his speech on the programme coming short before dinner, he had to cut short his ‘warning remarks’, citing that he wouldn’t want to spoil the ambience environment.
93 councils, both rural and urban have been gathered for the event that sought to recognise and encourage local authorities to adopt gender mainstreaming in their policies and operations.
“Gender mainstreaming incorporation,” he said, “includes the provision of proper housing schemes and social amenities such as playing grounds and recreational facilities that mainly benefits children and lessening the burden of mothers.
The local government minister urged gathered town councillors not to interfere with the management of town stands, as this was the prerogative of town executives, as their roles was only limited to approval only.
He was however quick to warn the city fathers and the town clerks, from considering that this would give them the leeway to engage in corrupt activities as the law would still take its course.
Minister Moyo accused Harare satellite towns such as Goromonzi of un-procedurally encroaching into the City of Harare.
He said the taxing Caledonia land question rests squarely on Goromonzi Town, while also calling for order in towns such as Chitungwiza.
In violation of the Regional Town and Country Planning Act, which criminalises any form of land development in the absence of permits or approved plans, land barons have mushroomed, parcelling out state land, local authorities’ land or even private land.
Latest statistics from the 2015 National Report for Habitat III says the country has 1.25 million housing units shortage, which houses 5 million people, a factor spurred by massive rural to urban migration in search of greener pastures.
Chitungwiza Town Council has of late been under the spotlight from residents and civic organisations over the demolition of houses for residents accused of violating house town planning policies, including building on wetlands.
In the past, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has condemned the unplanned and illegal allocation of residential stands by land barons.

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