By Tapuwa Mutizamhepo
The ruling Zanu PF party has been fingered as having a hand in the proliferation of water borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera due to its interference in the running of urban councils many of which are led by the opposition MDC T.
Speaking at an urban land corruption, Typhoid and 2018 elections public dialogue meeting organized by Transparency International Zimbabwe, MDC T House of Assembly member for Hatfield, Dr. Tapiwa Mashakada said opposition party led urban councils were finding it difficult to discharge their duties freely because of unwarranted interference by senior Zanu PF and government’s officials for political gain.
He said during election time, Zanu PF politicians have a tendency of dishing out vast tracks of land to their supporters to canvass for votes.
“The authority of local council has been challenged, often times we see Zanu Pf officials dishing out council land to their supporters in return for votes, and in most cases these people are settled in places which would not have important facilities such as sewer reticulation infrastructure or clean water and are often over crowded a situation which leads to the outbreaks of Typhoid and Cholera” said Hon Mashakada.
“The privatization and parceling of state land, has been Zanu PF’s election strategy since 2000, right now the Harare City’s land bank has been exhausted as the land is parceled out to Zanu Pf youths and land barons linked to the party, and what is more worrying is that all this is done without following proper tenets of urban planning
“Our hands are tied, our mandate has been interfered with, Ministers names often surface in dubious land deals in Alistone, Caledonia…even in Norton by elections, we all saw how Zanu Pf tried to use land to buy votes and even in Chitungwiza there is one land baron who is a senior Zanu PF official and owns more than half of the land in the town
“Each time the country is going for polls, opposition councilors and Mayors are unjustifiably fired to create a vacuum that would lead to Local Government Minister appointing commissions that are answerable to them, they then use these commissions to further the political interests of their party”, said Hon Mashakada.
Zimbabwe People First Spokesperson Jealous Mawarire echoed the same sentiments saying Zanu Pf has perfected the art of asset stripping, land allocation and deprivation as tools to cow electorates for votes.
“What we have seen is a whole political system that thrives on asset stripping and using land and other national resources for political expediency.
Zanu PF uses almost everything it can to raise money for their war chest…it uses willing criminals within the party to siphon national resources to its coffers. The ZimDef corruption case is instructive and lays bare the ruling party’s penchant appetite of using national resources for their gain. It’s not the duty of an political party to be moving around parceling out un serviced land to their supporters and when we have these diseases, the Minister and government accuse the councils of doing shoddy waste management jobs yet in actual fact it will be them that would have caused the problem, through their illegal land allocation”, said Mawarire.
Elections Resource Centre Director Tawanda Chimhini said it was likely that the trend will go on in 2018 elections.
“Land allocation has played a major role as a vote buying gimmick, soon before elections most politicians turn into land philanthropists, by the time we reach 2018 more stands would be distributed in a manner that influences election outcomes”, he said.
“Electoral manipulation has changed from polling stations, victory can now be determined way before elections through some unscrupulous vote buying means such as land allocation”, he added.
Zanu PF National Political Commissar who is Minister of Local government Honorable Saviour Kasukuwere had not responded to questions sent to him, repeated calls to his mobile number were not being answered.