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Let’s address the menace of land barons in Harare South: Tongai Mnangagwa

Hon Tongai Mnangagwa addressing residents on one of his meet-the-people sessions in Harare South

Honourable Tongai Mnangagwa, the Member of the National Assembly for Harare South has said it is incumbent on stakeholders to join forces in addressing the menace of land barons in the constituency.

Hon Mnangagwa made the remarks on his meet-the-people meeting at the Mbudzi complex in Harare on Friday.

“The Harare South Constituency is one of the constituencies most affected by the activities of land barons who parcel out land to their cronies and home seekers without following town plans. In the end, we end up having perennial challenges of burst pipes with raw sewer flowing on the streets. This leads to outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid – a situation that exerts pressure on the country’s health delivery system,” Hon. Mnangagwa said.

On Saturday, 10 April 2021, the legislator intended to meet more people in Southlea Park in the same constituency but was stopped in the tracks when violent youths attacked residents who were waiting to be addressed by him.

The aborted meeting on Saturday was organized by the Zimbabwe National Organisation Of Associations And Residents Trusts (ZNOART).

The program aimed to address the issues of service delivery and infrastructure development that have been a cause of concern in Southlea Park and Harare in general.

Last year, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared war on land barons and created a land commission that aimed to address the issue of land barons. Following a report by the commission, several people have been arrested. Land barons are distributing land set aside for schools, clinics, and hospitals. There are cases of double allocations of stands that are being orchestrated by well-known land barons using their political muscles to protect their illegal dealings.

The ZNOART tour was meant to get first-hand information on the issue of land barons and to address the issue of infrastructure development. Southlea Park residents were gathered near Candy shops waiting for the lawmaker and ZNOART executive, at around 9 o’clock in the morning when violent youths led by a man only identified as Nhakiwa arrived at the venue armed with empty bottles, sticks and stones.

They displaced the gathering and assaulted local residents association leaders and reportedly told them that Southlea Park is a no go area. The youth are said to have been sent by one Pfundukwa whom Southlea Park residents are accusing of selling stands on wetlands and on areas set aside for schools, clinics and hospitals.  The residents believe that the attack was meant to stop ZNOART and Hon Mnangagwa from exposing the corruption on the ground.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende