President Robert Mugabe yesterday took Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to task for reportedly selling land earmarked for youths housing to Prophet Walter Magaya and political bigwigs.
Prophet Magaya leads the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries that has pledged to build 20 000 housing units in Harare and Mutare.
This comes a few weeks after the President availed 1 000 hectares of land for residential development to youths in Harare as part of efforts to fulfil Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, which targets provision of 300 000 housing units by 2018.
The land is in Shawasha B, Norton and Harare South.
Youths — as exposed by our sister paper The Sunday Mail — have reportedly been muscled out of the project with most of the land going to Prophet Magaya and shelf companies belonging to political bigwigs, among them Minister Kasukuwere’s cronies.
President Mugabe, who a few days ago at the National Youth Assembly meeting in Harare slammed corrupt allocation of residential land, yesterday took Minister Kasukuwere to task over the shenanigans.
“Ko nyaya yevakomana yemastands iri kufamba sei?” the President asked before the start of the Politburo meeting.
“Ndakanzwa 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.”
Not convinced, President Mugabe retorted: “No, No, ndiri kunzwa kuti land yakatengeserwa ananaMagaya. Makatengesa, makatengesa!”
The land where alleged corruption has erupted is at Chishawasha B farm where youths were allocated 300ha of the 2 848,77ha that lies along Arcturus Road.
The offer, according to sources, had been withdrawn under unclear circumstances amid reports that some bigwigs were using shelf companies to mask their allocations.
As at July 26, according to documents from the Local Government Ministry’s State Land Management section, Chishawasha B had been allocated as follows: Udcorp 1 000ha; National Housing Fund 378ha; Harare youths 300ha; Homelink 200ha; Twinbag Investments, N-Frays Infrastructure, Farmtel Investments (Terrence Mukupe), Nettfields Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Mahlaba (Pvt) Ltd (100ha each); Elephant Trust (linked to a Cabinet minister) 70ha; and Zimshelter, Washtrom, Denrock Investments (Kudzai Chipanga) and Casewood (Tongai Kasukuwere) (50ha each).
It is understood that some of these firms are linked to Betty Kaseke, Sarah Mahoka, Innocent Hamandishe and Shadreck Mashayamombe.
Farmtel, Denrock, Casewood and Kaseke reportedly signed memoranda of agreements with the Local Government Ministry to develop the land on July 29.
Around that same time, Prophet Walter Magaya’s Planet Africa is said to have signed a memorandum of agreement with the ministry for 300ha.
Documents indicate Planet Africa paid a deposit of US$100 000 on August 10.
On August 17, Minister Kasukuwere withdrew all offer letters except for Planet Africa.
It is alleged that Planet Africa was subsequently offered land reserved for youths, with some quarters speaking of an “improper relationship” between the Minister and the Prophet.
Officials from Prophet Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries have maintained that their transactions were above board.
The officials confirmed to The Sunday Mail that they had received 300 hectares in Chishawasha B adding that “we have paid deposit for that.”
On the other hand, Minister Kasukuwere dismissed allegations of impropriety, saying the priority list for Chishawasha B had youths, women, the Urban Development Corporation and Homelink.
He confirmed that some allocations were done wrongly and he “had to cancel everything.”
He claimed PHD was yet to get land and that the church was in discussions with Udcorp to that end.
One of the firms whose offer letter was withdrawn has written to Minister Kasukuwere’s ministry threatening legal action.
Part of the generic withdrawal letters read: “This ministry regrets to advise you that the offer of (number of hectares) of land at Chishawasha B Farm is being withdrawn with immediate effect due to other pressing needs for land in this area.
“Consequent to this decision to withdraw the land offer, the memorandum of understanding which had been signed between yourselves and the ministry has been deemed cancelled.”
Investigations show that the Chishawasha B saga started on September 4, 2015 when Harare East legislator Cde Terrence Mukupe approached the Local Government Ministry seeking approval for urban development on 710,226ha of Chishawasha B.
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 that, Minister Kasukuwere issued offer letters to Mahoka, 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 Prophet Magaya’s Planet Africa three days later.