THE opposition MDC-T party and civil society organisations have condemned plans by government to give housing stands on the cheap to thousands of youths, saying the move was a political gimmick ahead of the 2018 elections.
MDC-T local government spokesman Eddie Cross the plans, which are being spearheaded by local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, were not aimed at improving the lives unemployed youths or landless Zimbabweans.
He was speaking Tuesday at a public discussion on local government land policy which was held in Harare.
“Zanu PF’s land programme by the Local Government Minister is politically motivated,” said the opposition legislator.
“How is it possible that land in an urban area can be sold to someone for only $10?”
Cross claimed that the stands were an incentive for ruling party youths to unleash violence against the opposition ahead of the next elections in 2018.
“This is an extremely serious issue because 20,000 stands earmarked for youths will only benefit those who will have a hand in fueling violence in towns and cities for (Zanu PF) to intimidate opposition members,” Cross highlighted.
Cross also claimed that the ruling party’s land reforms were not only aimed at removing white farmers but, and more importantly, to stop farm workers voting for the MDC-T in areas targeted by Zanu PF.
He said there was some method to President Robert Mugabe’s handing the local government ministry to Kasukuwere.
The minister is also Zanu PF’s national commissar.
“Do not think Mugabe is mad by bringing in Kasukuwere to that position of Local Government Minister.
His assignment is to cripple MDC-T councils so that Zanu PF gets the opportunity to steal land from citizens and give it to its supporters,” said Cross.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) representative Marvelous Khumalo weighed in questioning Kasukuwere’s interference in local authorities.
“We do not have a policy framework for land in urban areas,” he explained.
“In our Constitution, the issue of urban land is not mentioned except for agricultural land. Mugabe’s government has failed to deliver housing to 1.3 million people who are on waiting list to get residential land in urban areas countrywide.
“The government has become the regulator and key player in the provision of housing land but, there is lack of institutional capacity at all levels with so many bottlenecks in the land delivery system.”
Khumalo also questioned Zanu PF’s motive in dishing out housing stands “36 years after independence”.
“Zanu PF has now identified land for residential purposes. Why now? The only reason is vote buying by the minister and we know where the land is going,” he said.
“Not every citizen will benefit as 1,500 hectares in Harare have been given to Zanu PF youths; 150 ha have been allocated to Zanu PF official Mumbuso Chinguno in Mutare and 7,000 stands in Bulawayo have also been allocated to youths belonging to the ruling party.
“We also know why MDC-T Chitungwiza, Bulawayo and Harare Councilors have been suspended or fired by Kasukuwere. His party is in a campaign mode and all these councils should be shoved out before elections