Publish Land Commission report, prosecute individuals illegally selling residential stands – Mnangagwa urged

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By Staff Reporter

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to publish the land commission report and expose officials involved in the illegal selling and parcelling of State and Council land.

HRT’s call to Mnangagwa came barely weeks after hundreds of families’ homes were marooned by flood waters and a six-year-old was swept away and found dead.

In a statement, HRT said the government should publish the report of the Justice Tendai Uchena Commission of Inquiry into the Matter of the Sale of State and Council Land in and around urban areas since 2005.

“The findings were presented to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in December 2019. It revealed that land developers, housing cooperatives leaders and politically connected individuals illegally sold US$3 billion worth of urban state land in the process, establishing illegal settlements,” read the statement.

“It concluded that the local authorities, private land developers and the Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP) were incapable of finding lasting solutions to the unravelling housing crisis in the illegal settlements.

“The identities of all key land barons are known to the authorities following the Justice Tendai Uchena Commission of Inquiry,” said HRT.

According to HRT, in terms of compliance with Section 62 of the Constitution, on access to information held by public bodies, the government of Zimbabwe should make the Justice Tendai Uchena Commission of Inquiry Report public.

Harare and surrounding areas have seen numerous sprouting of illegal settlements as a result of shoddy deals by land barons, council officials and political party members.

“Wetlands are being destroyed in most communities, with corrupt councillors, council district officials, town planners and political party leaders conniving with land barons to unprocedurally conduct land sales targeting wetlands, recreational and other open spaces.

“Land barons take advantage of desperate house seekers and mislead them into illegal occupation of council and state land. The heavy rains that have fallen in Harare have exposed the corrupt for selling people residential stands on the natural paths of water.

“The people who have settled on these wetlands and the sellers involved are equally culpable. There is no way that water will change its natural course without bothering the illegally settled,” said HRT.

The residence association called for immediate intervention as the country is expected to receive more rain in the coming days.