HomeBusiness DigestZim land grab nightmare

Zim land grab nightmare

NORMALLY I don’t want to talk about or discuss my dreams — or should I say nightmares?

Malcom Sharara

In fact, I don’t want people to tell me their dreams because I believe they bring to the world unnecessary fears about things that might never happen in real life.

I will, however, break that rule and recount the dream I had on Sunday night.

I dreamt it was Sunday morning and my family and I were about to go to church. As we opened the gate, we saw scores of Zanu PF youths setting up makeshift camping tents right in front of our house.

They had already hoisted both the Zanu PF as well as the country’s flag.

I could not believe my eyes. How can anyone just come and set up base right in front of my house? This is illegal, I said to myself as I approached the group. Normally, it’s not advisable to confront this lot unless you have already booked yourself a bed in hospital, but this had to be done. I knew allowing them to set up base was tantamount to allowing monkeys to become established in your maize field.

The next thing is that they will demand water from your premises and balloon your utility bill. From there, they will demand vegetables from your garden and before you know it, they will ask you to give up your bedroom for one of their leaders. So this was no time for fear — they had to be confronted. As I was walking towards them, preparing for the worst, I woke up.

I was relieved that it was just a dream and nothing to worry about.
Sadly though, as much as this was a dream for me, it is reality for many in Zimbabwe, especially in Harare. Zanu PF youths have become a law unto themselves and can do anything in the name of the party.

Just this Monday, there were reports that Zanu PF youths were extorting people. According to independent daily NewsDay, Zanu PF officials in Harare have been accused of using First Lady Grace Mugabe’s name to extort money from at least 10 housing co-operatives from the high-density suburb of Glen Norah.

These co-operatives are said to have lost at least US$46 000 to date, with the matter at the courts following the arrest of several Zanu PF youths. The same paper reports that Zanu PF supporters in Harare’s Caledonia settlement have reportedly repossessed residential stands acquired by domestic workers, accusing them of supporting the main opposition MDC-T.

The paper reported that the ruling party’s youths had hoisted their party flag at some of the stands and vowed to stay put, claiming all the land in the area belonged to Zanu PF.

In some areas, Zanu PF has used the state to illegally sell and allocate stands to members of the public, only to turn around and give back the land to its original owners. People who have bought such stands are now made to pay the original owner.

A good case in point is the issue of Ordar Farm, where thousands were sold stands under Zanu PF’s watch — only for the state to turn around and give back the farm to its original owner, who is also a strong Zanu PF member.

According to the Herald, over 20 000 people who bought land for housing in Harare South from a land developing consortium on three farms face eviction after the government returned the land to Phillip Chiyangwa, a Zanu PF central committee member.
These people now have to again pay the “rightful owner” or face eviction, and all this under Zanu PF’s watch, or should I say with Zanu PF heavily involved.

Driving along the majority of Harare roads, one will notice that most open spaces have been grabbed by the party’s youth who have gone on to allocate each other stands without the approval of the Harare City Council. Some youths have grabbed these empty pieces of land and sold them to unsuspecting members of the public.

In the central business district, vendors are paying rentals to Zanu PF people to sell wares in streets and on pavements. It is issues like these that give us such dreams/nightmares, because we don’t know when Zanu PF will take away what rightfully belongs to us. You begin to ask what legacy President Robert Mugabe is leaving when honest, hardworking people get robbed and manipulated.

How do we get even our brothers and sisters in the diaspora to invest back home when the party can wake up one day and reverse a decision it made in the past? Like in the case of Ordar Farm above, government, through the Administrative Court, confirmed the acquisition that allowed co-operatives to sell land to people; now the same government is reversing that decision five years after people started buying the housing stands, and have spent scarce thousands building their homes.

Sharara is Fin24’s correspondent in Zimbabwe. Views expressed are his own.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading