The Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission has opened an investigation into how Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has handled allocations of residential stands at Chishawasha B Farm.
The probe follows questions raised by President Mugabe over allegations that Minister Kasukuwere could have sold land meant for youths, women and civil servants. More than 300 A1 farmers from the area last week demonstrated against the minister, accusing him of parcelling out their land. ZACC spokesperson Ms Phyllis Chikundura said she could not immediately verify if an investigation of Minister Kasukuwere was underway as she was out of office, and referred this publication to the commission’s secretary, Senior Assistant Commissioner Silas Pondo.
Snr Asst Comm Pondo’s mobile phone went unanswered yesterday. However, ZACC investigators said that Minister Kasukuwere would have to answer questions on his role in the alleged improper sale of 300 hectares of land. “Everyone who was involved in the transactions will be interviewed as we try to get to the bottom of the matter,” said an investigator. The 300ha in Chishawasha B was reportedly sold to Planet Africa – a company owned by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Prophet Walter Magaya. The clergyman paid a US$100 000 deposit for the land, and by yesterday it could not be established what the total transaction value was. “An active investigation is currently underway on Minister Kasukuwere to establish if he has a case to answer on the sale of land in Chishawasha.
The probe is likely to be completed before the end of this month,” said a source. Approached for comment yesterday, Minister Kasukuwere asked for questions in writing, which he had not responded to by the time of going to print. Efforts to get him to respond to the written questions attracted the reaction: “Iwe, ndakuudza kuti usandinetse. I told you to send your questions in writing.” Prophet Magaya, speaking to journalists at PHD’s Night of Turnaround 5 in Harare yesterday morning, said he merely bought the land and was unaware at the time of any issues surrounding it.
“To be honest with you, the accusations about the stands were never addressed to me. I didn’t take anyone’s land; I didn’t do anything illegal; whatever I have done was above board. I am not aware of any accusations levelled against me. What I know is that I bought land through proper channels and if there is anything wrong I should have been notified. “There was no connivance whatsoever (with Minister Kasukuwere). All I heard was ‘you have sold land to Magaya’.
I don’t think it’s an allegation, it’s just a question. “If I sell land to The Herald, the word ‘sell’ means someone is buying and there is no connivance. I bought the land; if you have money you are allowed to buy land but all the same I will never purchase something with a suspicious background. “I never took anyone’s land and I will never do that. This is a nation with proper channels and I followed procedures.
Also, I am a lawabiding citizen. I am not fighting any politician and I don’t have any reason to fight any politician. I respect all politicians all Members of Parliament, ministers and my President. I don’t think this is a political fight. “These stories came from people who just don’t like me. There is no political fight because I am not a politician, I am not fighting anyone; I don’t know if someone is fighting me. I have matured 20 times (more) than what I was last year. I have understood that a human being is dangerous,” Prophet Magaya said.
The Chishawasha B saga started on September 4, 2015 when Harare East MP Terence Mukupe approached the Local Government Ministry seeking approval for urban development on 710,226ha of the 2 848,77ha farm. The property fell under the jurisdiction of the Lands and Rural Resettlement Ministry and on October 21, 2015 Minister Kasukuwere asked for its transference to his brief. Around March this year, Lands Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora formally handed over the farm to Local Government. Soon after, Minister Kasukuwere issued offer letters to Sarah Mahoka, Shadreck Mashayamombe and Choto, at which point Mukupe threatened to expose what he felt was corrupt allocation of the land. The three offer letters were withdrawn, and in April Minister Kasukuwere issued 13 new ones, only to withdraw all but that for Prophet Magaya’s Planet Africa three days later.
On September 3 in Harare, President Mugabe told youths in Harare that he would not allow corruption to disenfranchise young Zimbabweans seeking residential land. Prior to a ZanuPF Politburo meeting that same month, President Mugabe asked Minister Kasukuwere, “Ko nyaya yevakomana yemastands iri kufamba sei? Ndanzwa kuti mastands makatengesa, makatengesera ananaMagaya.” Minister Kasukuwere responded: “No shefu. Vakanga vashaya zvekunyora. There is nothing like that. I am the responsible minister and hakuna zvakadaro zvakaitika.” But President Mugabe pressed him saying: “No, no. Ndiri kunzwa kuti land yakatengeserwa ananaMagaya. Makatengesa, makatengesa!