The Justice Uchena Land Report named a bevy of politically connected individuals amongst the plethora of land barons who needed to be investigated.
This was a diplomatic way of naming these as suspects in the scourge that has befallen urban dwellers desperate for stands.
The Hit List
Amongst those named were former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Phillip Chiyangwa, Justice Wadyejena, Nhamo Tutisani, former Minister Ignatius Chombo and Cuthbert Mpame.
The report was also explicit in stating that a large percentage of the land barons were either from ZANU PF or connected to it.
The ruling party is thus the common denominator in the country’s land baron challenge. This was the conclusion of the commission after extensive investigations into the selling of land across the country.
It’s not a political statement but a factual finding corroborated by multiple pieces of evidence gathered from various involved sources.
President Mnangagwa was handed over the report and was expected to act on it.
He did not and has not up to now.
The named individuals have not been investigated. On the basis of the report no one has been arrested.
Why Has Noone Been Investigated
The whole idea behind instituting the land Commission has been lost in the preceding inertia by those responsible for implementing the findings.
The irony in the whole matter is that those not acting on the report are the same people who started it.
The whole report is slowly becoming an academic exercise that will mildew in some national office until one of the named ‘land barons’ crosses political lines and needs reining.
Fast forward to 2020 the government has descended not on the named land barons but on Harare City Council officials.
There is nothing wrong about fighting corruption at Council if it is there but as Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) member Lorraine Mpasiri has said, something is amiss about a national strategy that only aims for the bottom half.
The lack of action on clear indicators for corruption offered by the Land Commission, instead choosing to forage a new indeterminate path reveals lack of focus.
More than that it’s an indictment of the lack of will to fight the land corruption by those responsible.
Instead they have continued churning out more rhetoric as recently shown by National Housing and Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe ostensibly giving land barons a three month ultimatum to fulfil the requirements of their development permits.
With a clear land baron list from the Justice Uchena report available it’s clear that those in positions of power are not interested in dealing with the real issues around urban stands.
Arresting Council officials and Councilors may appease a few but the underlying root cause was picked by the Uchena report.
ZANU PF needs to give up its corrupt land barons and allow the law to take its course.