Harare Provincial Affairs Minister Oliver Chidawu today said land barons have locked out investors with “serious money” because there is no land in the Zimbabwe capital to allocate to the investors.
He told the Herald that a lot of investors were interested in investing in the capital because it was the innovation hub but there was no land.
“Land has been taken away by the barons, there is absolutely no land. Some of which has been taken by the city and is being hoarded. Harare has no land, so where do I put the investors?” he asked.
“I have had three investors, two of them local and one is foreign, they have serious cash, but there is no land.
“A group of specialist doctors approached me saying they intend to open a specialist hospital to stop people from flying out to be treated by their own students who are now specialist doctors, but there is no land. We have to reverse some shady deals to free up land for investments. Everything happens in Harare, it is a province that thrives on innovation.
“We are not going to be borrowing money, going cap in hand to people. Once we demonstrate that we are responsible and we can manage funds, we would have created conditions for our own people to invest back home. Those best brains around the whole world must see that things are happening back home and most people who are outside are identified with Harare.”
Chidawu said land barons were just criminals who should be brought to book.
“I think let us unpack the issue. Land barons is a colloquial term for people who have stolen money from needy people who wanted housing and shelter over their heads.
“These are just criminals, the point is what are we going to do with the criminals who have been roaming around cheating people? It is the duty of the local authority to provide housing to the people, it is a national duty for Government.
“In my time as Harare Mayor, we used to do that in places like Warren Park and Kuwadzana. We serviced the land and properly gave people land. Unfortunately, as things deteriorated, we have ended up with greedy people.
“When people in local authorities are elected, councillors have turned to be the ones at the forefront of cheating the people who have elected them. Councillors should not do that, they are supposed to be respected leaders who should provide, lead, account, encourage people to pay rates.
“Being elected a councillor is not a job, you give service for your infrastructure to be kept intact and for services to be provided to people who pay rates properly. But the problem that we have had, we may be forced to look at the quality of people we are electing today. Do they qualify and how do we end up with people who cheat those who elect them?
“Who are these land barons? The same criminals and greedy people who are exploiting those who need housing. For me, I think there is nothing like land barons, there are people who have been stealing land and using all sorts of methods of getting money from people.
“There is nothing like a land baron, a baron would be a person who owns land and service it for sale, but these you are calling land barons are criminals.
“Unfortunately, these criminals become very powerful because institutions have become very weak. The police, maybe because they are not well-paid, they get paid by these so-called barons, so they cannot act. If you go report these barons, they are not arrested because some police officers are complicit, we cannot have a society like that.”
And still no mention of Serge Levys Univern which is central to all of this not to mention that the company sold snow ploughs to HCC