Kasukuwere, Mayor Fidze Bicker Over Masvingo Council Land

By Johannes Chin’ombe

Masvingo, 15 August, 2016 – DAGGERS are drawn between Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Masvingo mayor Hubert Fidze over the former’s decision to grab land from council for redistribution as housing stands to Zanu PF supporters.

This is after the Masvingo mayor has defiantly said his council will not be railroaded into surrendering scarce land for redistribution to Zanu PF members only.

Zanu PF has embarked on a controversial programme aimed at parceling out residential stands to party youths in what critics say was a vote buying strategy ahead of the 2018 elections.

Kasukuwere, who is spearheading the process, has already grabbed land from Harare, Mutare, and Bulawayo in what he says was a national process.

But Fidze has vowed to resist the process in Masvingo, insisting the country’s oldest urban authority was inundated with demands for land from bona fide home seekers who have been on the housing list for years and will not be forced to prioritise a partisan process.

The MDC-T official said when land is available, his council will be guided by the waiting list when distributing residential stands.

“There are no sacred cows and we insist that everyone should go through the proper channels when acquiring land,” said Fidze then.

He added: “The waiting list is ballooning because we do not have any land at the moment. Maybe Zanu PF has other means to get that land but, within our jurisdiction, we have no land.”

But speaking to RadioVOP soon after a recent Zanu PF provincial coordinating meeting (PCC) meeting held in the city, Kasukuwere said councils had no final word on land use within its jurisdiction.

“I am amazed with what Fidze is really up to. How can he say there is no land for youths when he owns no land in Zimbabwe,” said the Zanu PF political commissar.

“Doesn’t he know that all land is owned by the state in Zimbabwe? No one owns any piece of land unless they have a lease of ownership; so he has no power to speak over the program.

“I am coming back next week to Masvingo to have the exercise commence here as has happened in other cities.  We have already identified the residential stands site at Clipsham so with such progress, one can easily see that our program is in the pipeline.

“All we are trying to do as a party is give the young tangible resources they can hold on to the rest of their lives. We are also as government demystifying the bureaucracy that has been usually associated with distribution of stands in urban areas.

Kasukuwere continued: “If Fidze is not happy with what we are doing, we are not worried. Maybe he is just jealous that they are under resourced as opposition and cannot offer their youths through milk and honey as Zanu PF does.”

Meanwhile, residents in the transit city have condemned the partisan exercise saying it was not for individual political parties to grab national assets for redistribution to their own supporters.

“Zanu PF processes are very unfair. We believe the land is state land and not Zanu PF land. I am surprised on why only Zanu PF youths are the only ones to benefit. This therefore disadvantages individuals from of different political views who have been waiting to get residential stands and have been on council waiting list for long,” one Gerald Gwara said.

Tsitsi Hamandishe feared the current Zanu PF exercise would go the land reform way which saw only party supporters benefitting.