Drama As Farm Seeker (77) Sets Corrupt’ Lands Ministry Offices On Fire

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

THERE was drama at the Lands Ministry offices in Chegutu Monday after a disgruntled elderly man torched the building, accusing the government officials of engaging in corruption.

Josiah Garamukanwa (77) had reportedly visited the offices to clarify the status of his application for land.

Mashonaland West police spokesperson, Inspector Margaret Chitove could not be reached for comment, but in a tweet, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) confirmed the incident.

“Police have arrested Josiah Garamukanwa (77) for a case of malicious damage to property, which occurred at Chegutu District Lands offices. The suspect visited the offices inquiring on the position of his application in which he applied for a piece of land,” the police said.

“On leaving the premises, the suspect produced a plastic container containing petrol which was hidden in a plastic bag and poured it in the corridor before setting the building on fire.”

After committing the offence, Garamukanwa tried to escape, but police officers who were on surveillance patrol acted swiftly and nabbed him.

The Chegutu Municipality fire brigade rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze before any property was damaged.

No injuries were reported.

Corruption is rife in the Lands Ministry, with the Zimbabwe Lands Commission (ZLC) in April saying it was handling over 1 000 disputes involving farm allocations and boundary rows.

The ZLC has also admitted the fast-track land reform programme had created headaches for the government, which it seeks to fix.

Among the problems faced the by Land Ministry are double allocations and multiple farm ownerships.

Over 250 000 people have applied for land with the ministry and are on the waiting list.