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Opinion / Columnist

Chiwenga must crack the whip!

15 Feb 2021 at 18:19hrs | Views
THE government last week set up a Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management to bring sanity and order in urban areas by deregistering housing cooperatives being run by corrupt land barons.

The committee is chaired by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga. This came after recent flooding of settlements built on wetlands in Harare and Chitungwiza that left scores of people homeless, while others lost valuable property.

The move to set up the committee is commendable and the government should not hesitate to demolish dwellings built on wetlands regardless. Land barons who sold stands on wetlands must not only be de-registered, but must face the full wrath of the law.

Besides being forced to compensate unsuspecting home-seekers, the land barons must rot in prison. They are callous not only to home-seekers, but also to the environment by destroying the important wetlands, which are fast disappearing. They have no inkling that wetlands are critical in the ecosystem – especially their critical role in rain formation.

    We have written about it and we will continue to call on the government to find a lasting and durable solution to the housing crisis in that country which is being taken advantage of by unscrupulous land barons. It is unbelievable that local authorities across the country have over the years developed lackadaisical attitudes to the nefarious acts of land barons.

Several unsanctioned suburbs and settlements have mushroomed in many local authorities without questions from the powers that be. Only when a natural disaster, like floods, hits the suburbs or settlements is when authorities emerge from the trappings of their office to pronounce they were illegally set up.

And we have noted with deep concern that in some instances illegally established settlements and suburbs have been regularised. An illegality should be treated like that and the full force of the law has to be applied. Regularisation of an illegal action must never be tolerated as it breeds more illegalities.

There should be orderly suburbs and settlements across the country. Local councils should stamp their authority irrespective of who the land barons or the owners of housing cooperatives are. Political considerations should never be allowed to spew illegalities.

It is a fact that between 2000 and 2017, the country experienced an increase in housing cooperatives run by Zanu-PF chefs and their hangers on.

Most of these cooperatives grabbed farms surrounding cities and towns, turning them into housing projects. Wetlands were also invaded for the same purpose.

Source - dailynews
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