Residents breathe fire over land barons

By Fungai Jachi

The ‘unholy’ alliance between land barons and the Harare City Council has been exposed with residents concerned about the parcelling out of land on wetlands in Glen Norah, Harare.

Built just about fifty metres away from the Mukuvisi River are houses whose owners claim to have been allocated land by a land baron through the Harare City Council.

One of the residents is Simbarashe Mazviwana, who insists the land allocation was above board despite the danger that comes with settling in wetlands.

“We have done our paperwork which gives us the right to be here. Council knows of our existence as we have been to their offices where we have paid for these stands,” said Mazviwana.

However, the move has not gone down well with residents of Glen Norah C who have expressed disappointment with the local authority and land barons for taking advantage of desperate home seekers.

“Action should be taken against these people because they have been doing this for a long time and now there are houses everywhere, even in places that are not proper.

“It is not fair that they take advantage of people by giving them land at places they know are not suitable for residential use. It is high time action is taken against these people,” said residents.

Contacted for comment, a man known as Magwaza, who was named as the chairperson of the housing cooperative, referred the ZBC News crew to Harare City Council authorities.

However, efforts to get a comment from the city council were futile as the spokesperson’s mobile phone went unanswered.

Corruption, misappropriation of funds and criminal abuse of office are some of the ills that have rocked most urban councils with several opposition party councillors having been arraigned before the courts.

The Harare City Council has also failed to account for almost US$200 million after they ditched a reliable billing system under unclear circumstances.