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Kasukuwere speaks against evictions

by Staff reporter
14 Feb 2024 at 04:42hrs | Views
SELF-EXILED former Zanu-PF political commissar and Cabinet minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, has called on the government to put in place a comprehensive plan to arrest the sprouting of illegal settlements while cushioning the affected victims.

This comes at a time when the government is rolling out the "No to Land Barons and Illegal Settlements on Land" operation with an estimated 13 000 villagers facing eviction in Masvingo province.

According to reports, the government is allegedly set to make more than US$13 million through US$100 fines on poor citizens who are being evicted from State land.

In December last year, the government vowed to prosecute people found occupying State land without authority from the responsible ministry, amid concern over an increase in illegal settlements on agricultural land across the country.

The on-going exercise, however, has riled civic society organisations such as Women and Land which said the evictions were illegal and unacceptable.

The organisation argued that section 74 of the Constitution provides that no person may be evicted from their home without an order of court made after considering all relevant circumstances.

In a lengthy write-up on his X handle, Kasukuwere said a holistic review of the Communal Lands Act was imperative to arrest the chaos being witnessed in the country.

"Unplanned settlements have cropped up everywhere and because of corruption the situation is truly out of control," he said.

Kasukuwere said the State should move swiftly to align the land authorities, from the village head, chief, land officers,  councillors and the ministries of Lands and Local Government.

"There are a raft of Acts that regulate the land and more often that not, they don't speak to each other hence the chaos. The then Ministry of Co-operatives, Rural District and Urban authorities all have a responsibility to administer the land," he said.

He said a comprehensive plan was necessary as the Local Government minister was heavily compromised to undertake the heavy task to preside over the demolition of homesteads and exposing vulnerable children and elders.

"On the other hand if it's not done, the chaos will continue. I suggest that Cabinet urgently sets up a committee to review the legal instruments at hand and harmonise them.

"Secondly, identify and plan how the affected families can be assisted and resettled legally. I need not remind you of the need to give appropriate title to citizens to avoid the chaos we are seeing," he said.

Kasukuwere noted that the road ahead was littered with obstacles for the ministry saying it was essential that authorities communicate effectively for society to appreciate their intentions.

"Destroying a homestead is a difficult undertaking for any leader. In the absence of a clearly defined process that citizens can follow should they require land, the pain and chaos will be with us for some time to come," he said.

Police national spokesperson Assistant Commission Paul Nyathi in a statement yesterday called for co-operation and provision of information during the operation which started last month.

"The operation started in January 2024 and is progressing well. As of February 12, 2024, a total of 3 775 suspects have been arrested with 985 convictions being made by the courts, while 3 360 cases are pending trial," he said.

Source - newsday