President Robert’s ruling Zanu PF has given a hint that its 2018 urban election campaign will hinge on doling out housing stands to thousands of desperate home-seekers.
This emerged on Wednesday during the party youths’ demonstration against recent civil protests in Harare when thousands of participants were told that Mugabe had availed 1,000 hectares of land for residential stands in the capital alone.
Some 7,000 youths have already been allocated land in the second capital, Bulawayo, under a similar scheme which will become nationwide.
Zanu PF youth wing leader, Kudzai Chipanga, told the demonstrators that Mugabe had “heeded” their plea for land on which to build houses.
“I am happy to inform you that the requests were well-received by the president. One of the things that you raised was that senior members in the party benefitted from the land reform programme free of charge and as youths you also want to benefit through the provision of residential stands in towns.
“Our President accepted this and I am happy to inform you that he has given you 1,000 hectares of land in Harare for residential stands. We want to make sure that when we go to vote for President Mugabe in 2018, all youths will be landlords,” said Chipanga.
The land from which the youths will benefit in Harare has already been approved for the purpose and is in Shawasha B, Norton and Harare South.
The Local Government ministry wrote a letter to the Zanu PF youth wing confirming availability of the stands.
The Urban Development Corporation will develop the land, according to Chipanga.
Some youths told Nehanda Radio that they were cheated into participating in the Wednesday demonstration in the capital.
“Many youths from Harare South (district) were trapped. They were told to bring copies of their identity documents so as to register for free stands and suddenly found themselves being instructed to demonstrate,” said one party source.
Government has in the past demolished housing stands allocated to home-seekers after elections, while most of similar residential projects remain without roads, running water and power.
Eddie Cross, the MDC-T local government shadow minister recently told journalists that his counterpart in government, Saviour Kasukuwere, had already grabbed city land in Harare to dole out to youths as part of a rigging plot by Zanu PF.
People getting the plots, he said, would be coerced to vote for Zanu PF as has happened in the past.
Zanu PF is dangling another election carrot in the mining sector where, according to Chipanga, youths would be given artisanal claims to exploit.
“No youths should be denied to mine in Zimbabwe but you should make sure that your operations conform to the laws of the country. Modalities are being worked out with the responsible minister to ensure that youths get mining licences,” said Chipanga.
In addition, the youths, who in the past have been used as militia to persecute political opponents, will benefit through farming projects