President Robert Mugabe has reportedly appointed a Cabinet committee to probe shady land deals in all major urban centres, as government closes in on land barons ahead of next year’s general elections.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
The Cabinet team, led by the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, comprises permanent secretaries from ministries of Lands, Local Government and other officials from the President’s Office.
Although Information minister Christopher Mushohwe was unreachable for comment, government sources told NewsDay that during last week’s Cabinet meeting, Mugabe tasked Sibanda to probe all urban land sales with a view to establish if the deals benefited ordinary people as well as the youths.
“There is a feeling that land in urban areas, be it State land or municipal land, was not sold properly and some dubious people have abused it, something which the President knows is a political time bomb,” a source said.
“Also, the issue of the land meant for party youths seems not to have been handled correctly, with allegations that a number of privileged businesspeople have allegedly privatised the land and are said to be lining their pockets while the youths are wallowing in poverty,” the source said.
Last year, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere was put to the sword after he was accused of having sold prime land meant for Zanu PF youths to Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya and some Zanu PF officials, but the minister denied the charge.
Kasukuwere yesterday would not confirm or deny the setting-up of a probe team, saying he did not attend Cabinet last week and was on sick leave.
“I was on leave, my brother, so I can’t talk about things I don’t know,” he said.
The probe is also reportedly targeting housing co-operatives that have been accused of fleecing desperate home seekers and private land developers.
Zimbabwe has a housing backlog estimated to be above 1,5 million housing units and sources said the provision of accommodation or lack of it would be a key factor among urban voters in the 2018 elections.