The ruling ZANU PF party has distanced itself from land barons illegally parceling out land in different parts of the country using its name, and demanded that law enforcement agencies ensure that the law takes its course.
In a statement, the party’s treasurer general, Patrick Chinamasa said Zanu PF did not condone the unlawful land occupations and illegal activities of land barons, and demanded that all irregular land occupations, sale or parceling out of land or stands and developments be stopped, and perpetrators brought to book.
“ZANU (PF) is alarmed at the mushrooming and proliferation of illegal occupations and settlement on communal, local authority and State land in and around major towns and cities, rural service centres and growth points and perpetrated by land barons some of who are masquerading as ZANU (PF) supporters and through use of name dropping falsely suggest that their illegal activities have the authority and blessings of ZANU (PF),” he said.
“Yet other land barons are using doctored and falsified documents as one of their strategies to mislead innocent stand buyers to part with their hard earned cash. These illegal activities of land barons are currently very prevalent in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces.”
He said the party leadership in Manicaland had taken action against its Mutare district coordinating committee (DCC) members comprising chairperson, Binali Yard, Brian Marange, Tawanda Ndawe, Webster Mudzimwa and Trust Matima who were arrested for the illegal distribution and occupation of land in the Gimboki area of Mutare.
The law enforcement agencies also intervened and stopped the springing up of illegal settlements and parceling out of land by unknown land barons along Rusape River which supplies water to the town.
In Mashonaland West, illegal land barons’ activities were observed on Somerby Farm fronting the Harare-Bulawayo highway formerly owned by West Stone Hurst (PVT) Ltd and measuring 102ha and Lot 4 Somerby Farm where violence resulted in the injury of six people recently.
These illegal occupations and settlements were also observed on Penrose Farm (143ha), Lilfordia Farm (600ha), Haydon Farm (744.57h, Rainham Farm (1 200ha) and Spitzkop farm (477ha) with 4.1ha of open spaces earmarked for a school and a hotel on Haydon Farm illegally occupied.
In Mashonaland East, illegal activities were mostly observed in Seke district under the Manyame Rural District Council on Longlands Farm, Kimcote Farm and Mnandi Farm which belong to the late Amos Midzi and Ealing Farm belonging to the late Colonel Katuka.
Villages outside Chitungwiza have been affected by a wave of illegal settlements as is the case with rural service centres in Seke district where Dema area is also affected.
Under the Goromonzi Rural District Council, illegal settlements are taking place at Proton Farm, Caledonia Farm and villages in the Domboshava and Chishawasha where land barons are randomly selling out land and occupying spaces reserved for schools and clinics with individual villagers and village heads joining in the fray in Chinhamhora and Chishawasha areas.
Chinamasa said the ruling party has never granted authority to any of its general membership, including persons who hold leadership positions at any level in the structures of the party, to participate in illegal occupations and land distributions whether as buyers or land barons.
ZANU (PF), he said, wanted it to be known that there is no land which should be considered to have no administering authority.
“Communal land is administered under the communal Lands Act and is vested in the President of the Republic.
“State land is also vested in the President and administered variously under the Ministries of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Water and Local government and Public works,” he said, adding that other lands fall under local authority councils and private individuals and entities and requires authorization of the relevant planning authority for any occupation, settlement or development.
He said unplanned settlements are a recipe for future disasters and a town planner’s nightmare as they come without the necessary infrastructure such as water, sewerage, road and electricity and without land set aside for social amenities such as schools, hospitals, clinics, sporting facilities and business centres, thus often end up costing more in terms of resources to take corrective measures. New Ziana