This past week notorious Chitungwiza land baron Frederick Mabamba and former Labour Minister Petronella Kagonye were arrested over illegal land deals supposedly sharpening the government’s fight against land dealers.
It’s a continuation of the land saga that has seen Chitungwiza residents having floods in their homes and Budiriro residents having demolitions late last year.
Ominously hanging above the residents is the plan to demolish over 11 000 more houses in Chitungwiza again.
The recent arrests are however falling short of the required impetus that will really signify seriousness on the part of government in the fight against land barons.
Speaking recently President Mnangagwa said the opposition has failed urban cities and he is looking to create inter-Ministerial taskforces to deal with the supposed rot.
He also promised to deal with illegal land dealers. The recent arrests are supposed to be the manifestation of the promises.
These many rhetorical gyrations and convoluted boardroom creations still miss the basic mark of seriousness.
They fall way below the standard of a government intent to stop the rot bedevilling the country.
The thematic line in the recent arrests reveals a penchant to go for the easy prey which includes politicians who have fallen out of favour and land barons who are beyond the redemption of PR or protection.
Mabamba’s name has widely circulated in land baron stories it had now become impossible for him to continue being left free.
Kagonye is a victim of the 2017 political changes and had begun seeking a return but was defeated in ZANU PF’s Goromonzi DCC elections.
The current political administration has refused to release or act upon the report and yet continues producing rhetoric of its intention to fight illegal land dealers.
It’s an indictment of it being complicit in the current land problems through its members.
The Uchena Report Executive summary was explicit in highlighting that the majority of the land players were part of ZANU PF.
Thus the document’s actual contents have serious political ramifications for the ruling party which it doesn’t want out in the open.
It’s already a known street fact that most of the supposed new and illegal settlements which have increased the peri-urban settlements are creations of cooperatives and land barons with ties to ZANU PF.
How they have continued to operate and exist with little to no implications are just political decisions which have negatively affected all those whose houses have been demolished and flooded.
The ruling party cannot afford going wholesale against the land barons or their illegal creations because of their political implications.
The victims are more than home-seekers but potential voters who should support the party that enabled them to have homes.
An example of how these land baron creations are finely entwined with the politics of the country are the videos of Harare South youths and man being forced to ‘warm up’ in preparation for fighting against the supposed opposition demonstrators of 31 July.
Thus even though Kagonye and Mabamba have been arrested more still needs to be done.
The government is yet to show any real intent and that can be done by implementing the recommendations of the Uchena report, bringing it into the open and investigating the various names listed in it.
For now the few unlucky picked from among the large horde of ZANU PF linked land barons will suffer on behalf of their many partners still roaming free.