Zanu PF Land Barons In Vote-Buying Gimmick
17 June 2023
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Suspected Zanu PF-linked land barons have invaded large tracts of land in Harare and Chitungwiza, where they are doling out residential stands to desperate home-seekers as a vote-buying gimmick ahead of the August 23 harmonised elections.

NewsDay has heard that some of the land barons in Retreat, Waterfalls, had pegged residential stands on land reserved for the Harare-Chitungwiza railway line as well as social amenities such as schools, with home-seekers being asked to pay between US$10 and US$20 as allocation fee.
An organisation known as Mapani Youth Housing Co-operative Society, with alleged links to Zanu PF, has been fingered in the illegal land sales.

“These barons are taking advantage of Zanu PF campaigns to sell stands (for) between US$200 and US$1 000. We are not really sure who is behind them,” said a resident who declined to be named.
“They have a tent near Musasa and Villa Bar in Retreat which they use as their base (office).”
Council spokesperson Innocent Ruwende yesterday expressed concern over the fresh land invasions.

Ruwende identified Glen View, Retreat (Harare-Chitungwiza Railway Reservation), Budiriro, Mufakose, Crowborough, Kuwadzana, Tafara/Mabvuku, Kambuzuma, Warren Park, Glen Norah, Mabelreign, Chisipite and The Grange among the affected suburbs.
“Land barons are generating fake allocation letters, receipts and diagrams which they use to dupe unsuspecting home-seekers,” he said.
“The cases are being referred to the relevant law enforcement agents and city’s audit division for prosecution. Council has noted that the land barons are misleading the beneficiaries that once they settle on these unplanned spaces, the City of Harare will regularise the areas.”
Ruwende said the land barons were misleading residents into believing that due to the forthcoming elections, illegal structures would not be demolished since they have “political protection”.
“This is a lie and residents are advised not to believe such deceptions. There is no single political party that owns or encourages land barons to engage in their nefarious and illegal settlement on open spaces and ecologically sensitive wetlands and such settlements will not be spared from demolitions,” he said.

Harare’s ward 16 councillor Denford Ngadziore (Citizens Coalition for Change), said council had completed serving demolition orders to land barons after the invasion of about 130 hectares of Greenways land around Meyrick Park, Greencroft, Cotswold Hills and St Andrews Park.
“To avoid inconveniences, those with proof of ownership should approach Mabelreign acting district officer Gambiza before end of day. Working with police and other departments, the planned demolition will go ahead without fear or favour. This is a response to the residents’ outcry,” Ngadziore said in a WhatsApp message to residents in the affected areas.
In Caledonia, a Zanu PF aspiring candidate for ward 14 was named as one of the land barons.
“I have no actual information, but they have always been doing that. What can stop them when some ruling party candidates are land barons? They are desperate and cunning and that’s how they earn a living,” Eastview Progressive Trust chairperson Chenjerai Hondo Masviba said.
A Zanu PF supporter and Caledonia Development Association leader, Kingstone Chikanga, reportedly declared the area as his and directed all chairpersons of housing co-operatives to demand campaign fees from the beneficiaries.

In Harare North constituency, Zanu PF aspiring councillors for ward 42 have also allegedly been illegally parcelling out stands on wetlands and riverbanks.
Zanu PF Harare provincial chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa disowned the land barons in an interview yesterday.
“If ever that is happening, Zanu PF is not involved. The people doing that are thieves and they should be arrested. If possible, you can report them to the police. I will contact leaders in those areas to investigate that. We don’t tolerate such activities at all,” he said.
Coalition for Market and Liberal Solutions executive director Rejoice Ngwenya said police should act on the land invasions.
“There is absolutely no doubt that Cabinet said land barons are non-existent. The legislator or councillors in that area must raise a police case against all barons who claim to parcel land or charge levies. Parcelling State land is illegal, even if you are (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa’s son,” Ngwenya said.