Statement by the MDC Shadow Minister for Local Government

MDC Shadow Minister for Local Government

In the past decade the Ministry of Local Government has settled some 300 000 families in urban areas of land in and around the urban councils. Most of this land was in the form of farms acquired by the State under the land reform programme and remains contested as compensation has not been paid to owners.

The objective of this programme has been to create areas of urban settlement that are totally vulnerable to political pressure and intimidation. In 2005 and 2013, these illegal settlements were used to influence the outcome of the elections by forcing settlers to vote for a particular candidate or face eviction or destruction of their structures.

These informal settlements were also used by the ruling Party, Zanu PF, to enable a number of “Land Barons” to act as developers and to sell stands to individual families for sums varying from $5 to $20 per square metre. In the process many of these individuals accumulated millions of dollars. In the majority of cases these families did not get any of the services they were promised.

Some of these properties have now been incorporated into Urban Councils for administration and service provision. Two such properties – Hopley Farm and Caledonia Farm, occupied by some 240 000 people, have been incorporated into the City of Harare. There is no sign or record of the millions of dollars paid by these families to the individuals who carried out this exercise on behalf of the Ministry of Local Government.

Now, in preparation for the next elections, the Ministry is proposing to settle hundreds of thousands of families on land that is virtually being given away for nothing. This exercise was launched last week in Mutare and attracted thousands of homeless people. Similar settlements are planned in all urban areas.

The MDC wants to make its position quite clear. The actions of the Ministry and the Minister are not only illegal; they are ill conceived and criminal. The victims of this cruel scam who take up the offer will not only be occupying land that does not belong to the State but may also be outside the planned housing schemes in urban areas. Therefore services of water and sanitation as well as roads and electrical power, will be difficult or even impossible to provide.

MDC Led Councils will not cooperate with this exercise; any attempt to use Council land for such hair brained schemes will be challenged in Court.

We appeal to the general public to be patient. All MDC led Councils are now following a programme which will, within a short period of time, provide all who want to live on a permanent basis in the urban areas, a plot of land within their means with security of tenure and all necessary services. The programme, which is already being implemented, includes the following steps:

  1. The Councils to identify land that is suitable for housing.
  2. The Council to undertake the required planning and survey.
  3. Allocation of the stands to people on the waiting lists.
  4. Sale of the stands at a price determined by the cost of servicing.
  5. Provision of title deeds when payment is received in full.
  6. Provision of house plans for approval and normal building inspection during construction.
  7. Assistance, where possible, with long term loans at a reasonable interest rates to stand owners for construction.

This will mean that all home owners in these schemes will have freehold title to their properties, the provision of all required services by the Councils and access to schools, clinics and recreation as well as inner City transport systems. They will then be able to express themselves freely in any democratic elections.

Efforts are being made in all areas controlled by the MDC Councils to formalize existing informal settlements on a basis that will meet the needs of the affected families, avoid destruction of property and facilitate the proper, orderly settlement of these Communities with security of tenure.

Eddie Cross
Secretary for Local Government Add a comment

Thank you Zimbabwe for a peaceful stay away

Thank You Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe's leading and most popular political party, the MDC would like to take this opportunity to sincerely and wholeheartedly thank the toiling masses of Zimbabwe for embarking on a peaceful and democratic stay away on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Indeed,the people of Zimbabwe have spoken in a very clear and unequivocal manner showing that they are completely and utterly fed up with the shenanigans of the crumbling, bankrupt and faction-ridden Zanu PF regime.

The MDC showed the way by embarking on a massive "mother of all demonstrations" in Harare on April 14, 2016, followed by equally successful mass demonstrations in Bulawayo and Mutare. We are humbled by the fact that Zimbabweans are now emboldened and strengthened in their desire and clamour for peaceful, democratic change after taking a clue from the three highly successful mass demonstrations that were recently held by the MDC. Zimbabweans throughout the length and breath of our beloved motherland are sick and tired of the renegade and insipidly corrupt Zanu PF regime that is fronted by President Robert Mugabe. The regime has been given notice that it is now living on borrowed time. Zanu PF successfully rigged the elections on July 31, 2013 but they have hopelessly failed to rig the economy. The people of Zimbabwe are not docile and neither are they fools. They know, exactly, what they want.

The Zanu PF regime has absolutely failed to resuscitate the comatose economy and as of now, at least 85% of Zimbabweans are living in abject and grinding poverty. Four million Zimbabweans are facing the horrifying spectre of starvation since the bankrupt regime has no money to import the necessary quantities of maize that are urgently needed to avert mass starvation. The regime has also failed to provide a condusive economic environment to stimulate job creation and industrial growth. The regime promised to provide 2,2 million jobs but to date, they have only managed to produce 2 million loafers and vendors.

The MDC, once again, joins other progressive political parties, civic organisations and indeed, all patriotic and peace-loving Zimbabweans in calling upon the immediate resignation of President Mugabe and his entire Cabinet. Zimbabwe is crying out for a fresh start, a new beginning. We also call upon SADC to take note of the situation in Zimbabwe and for an extraordinary regional summit to be held to look into the deteriorating political and socio-economic situation in the country. Fresh, free and fair elections should be held in Zimbabwe in order to usher in a legitimate government of the people. These fresh elections should only be held after ensuring that electoral reforms have been undertaken that will guarantee the holding of free and fair elections, that will pass the test of legitimacy. These fresh elections should be supervised by SADC, the AU and the UN. It is clear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is incorrigibly delinquent and severely compromised. ZEC is just but an extension of the collapsing Zanu PF regime and in its current form, it is completely unable and incapable of running a free and fair election.

Time is up for the Zanu PF regime. The people of Zimbabwe have spoken.

MDC: Equal Opportunities For All

Obert Chaurura Gutu
MDC National Spokesperson Add a comment

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