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Land ownership should be for all not a connected minority

Demolished house in Seke Unit C

The Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) appreciates the rationale
behind the setting up of a committee to investigate shady land deals
in all major urban areas to deal with the chaos that has been created
by some corrupt and politically connected land barons. Chitrest has
always maintained its held position that urban land allocation is
being politicized and only benefiting the connected and rich minority
in the country while leaving out the ordinary and deserving citizens.

Bulldozer demolishing a house in Budiriro

Budiriro house being demolished

The Harare metropolitan is one of the most affected provinces in terms
of corrupt land deals, with Harare, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Epworth
being fertile lands for land barons. The land barons are usually
aligned to the ruling party and normally abuse names of well known
heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle to justify and mask
their filthy work. In most instances, innocent citizens have lost
their life savings through either being conned or after their houses
would have been demolished by local authorities with the support of
the government. Some wetlands have been converted to informal
settlements resulting in a number of such areas experiencing heavy
flooding in the just ended rainy season.

People watching as house is demolished by bulldozer

Zengeza 5 house demolitions

The issue of primary concern to residents and other stakeholders is
the timing of the appointment of this probe team and its composition
which is non inclusive. The committee is being set up just before
harmonized elections scheduled for 2018 yet thousands of prospective
home owners have been prejudiced by these land barons without any
meaningful intervention by the government. The committee also lacks
representation of other stakeholders such as civil society, residents
associations, churches and other non-governmental organizations who
have been very instrumental in assisting some victims of house
demolitions.

Chitrest calls upon the government to solve the urban land challenges
forthwith and seize allowing it to be abused for cheap political
expedience or pursuance of factional fights. Zimbabweans are tired of
witnessing cases where home seekers are duped or have their properties
demolished. Urban land ownership should be accessible and affordable
to all deserving citizens not only a connected minority.

Fredy Njeje

fredynjeje@live.com

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