Land Scam Report – More Journalists Quizzed

On Wednesday two officers from the Law and Order section spent approximately two hours interogating journalists and editors at 1 Kwame Nkrumah, The Standard Paper offices in Harare.  They interviewed editor in chief Vincent Kahiya, Editor of The Standard Nevanji Madanhire and the two reporters who authored the story, Feluna Nleya and Jennifer Dube.

The police have already summoned free lance journalist Stanley Gama for publishing contents of the report in the Sunday Times.

The 54-page-report is titled “Special Investigations Committees report on City of Harare’s Land Sales, Leases and Exchanges from the period October 2004 to December 2009”. It names Chiyangwa, Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo, former Harare mayoress Sekesai Makwavarara among other senior Zanu PF officials who were involved in clandestine dealings involving prime land in Harare. The report recommends that the officials be arrested.

But in a move to counter the report, Chiyangwa has already launched a complaint with the police, and also requested that the journalists and councillors involved should be silenced before the report is adopted as a public document by council.

During a full council meeting on March 30, Ward 17 Councillor Warship Dumba, who led the special investigation, told his colleagues that it was getting more and more dangerous to keep the report.

“It is now dangerous to keep this document, as it is continuously being leaked. It must be adopted and become a public document,” said Dumba. “There are already instances where some people are already being called by the police to indicate where they got the document. It is now dangerous to keep this document; a lot of politics has been brought into play.”

The council finally decided through a vote that the document would be discussed on April 1 during a special full council meeting.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said Thursday’s meeting will discuss only the report.

“We are going to convene a special council meeting to have a more focused discussion on the issues raised in the report,” said Masunda.

Tempers even flared among some councillors over the differences of opinion on the direction to take regarding the report.

Another councillor, Wilton Janjazi said the officials implicated in the report were “already working on the contents to counter what is in the documents”. The counter moves started last week with the implication of MDC councillors in illegal property take overs in high density suburbs.

But Peter Moyo argued that councillors needed more time to study the document so that they make an informed decision. Also prominent among the councillors against the discussion of the report were Julias Musevenzi and Peter Mudavanhu.

The differences that emerged following Dumba’s proposals raised suspicions that there were fresh divisions in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Through his company Kilima Investments, Chiyangwa reportedly connived with officials in Sekesai Makwavarara’s commission to clandestinely acquire properties. In some cases, they swapped leases with council.