WE WERE SOLD A DUMMY :ZANU PF YOUTHS | Zanu PF youths in the second largest city and its hinterland are seething with anger after President Robert Mugabe’s government claimed last year to have made available swathes of land for housing development, which is turning out to be a ruse.
The Southern News can report that ever since the land was made available, no development has taken place at the site measuring about 318 hectares amid revelations that part of the land falls under a restricted zone. Youths here now suspect that the project was meant to hoodwink them ahead of crucial polls next year.
Following his fallout with war veterans in 2015, Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have turned to the restive youths and women for support.
The Zanu PF leader is currently going around the country to engage the youths through what has been called “youth interface rallies”, which have been attracting huge crowds.
His wife, Grace, will also be embarking on a whirlwind tour of the provinces soon in her capacity as head of the Zanu PF women’s league.
Last year, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who doubles up as Zanu PF’s national political commissar, unveiled 318 hectares of land for the construction of between 10 000 and 20 000 high density residential stands for youths at Umvutshwa Farm on the outskirts of the city.
This housing project was meant to be a high density residential suburb where plus or minus 7 000 households in the form of stands ranging from 200 square metres to 400 square metres and high rise flats were to be accommodated.
Upon the project’s launch last year, it attracted scorn from various stakeholders who accused the minister of abusing his role as Local Government overseer to parcel out land on political basis.
The project is being supervised by the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp), which is a parastatal that falls under the Local Government ministry.
Government later said over 5 000 youths from Matabeleland region had registered for residential stands in Umvutshwa.
While the initiative was positive, Zanu PF youths still feel betrayed by the minister whom they accuse of taking them for a ride.
Several youths who spoke to this paper refused to be named but expressed their displeasure at the politicking by their boss as they have failed to get their promised residential stands.
“This is bad politicking, why would people waste our time like that giving us hope where there is nothing. Kasukuwere must be ashamed…,” said one angry youth.
“That was a waste of resources, imagine trucks were hired and even the VP (Phelekezela) Mphoko and other top government officials attended the ground-breaking ceremony and yet all that went for nothing.
“Some of our colleagues were involved in a tragic accident as we were coming from there which left others wheelchair bound, honestly that’s taking us for granted,” said another angry youth.
The youths also said they were made to pay $5 each as registration fee and $50 monthly instalments paid into a Udcorp account. Southern News also understands that there were disagreements over the piece of land which was selected as it belonged to a white farmer.
Bulawayo Zanu PF central youth district chair Magura Charumbira said: “We are just waiting; we don’t even know what’s the actual position of the government on our residential stands. They had promised us that by now the youth suburb would be taking shape but there is nothing.”
“It is such lies by Kasukuwere that made nine out of 10 provinces deny him but some people had other ideas,” he said.
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony last year Kasukuwere pledged that the whole servicing was going to be done by end of last year.
“I promise you that this land will be serviced by end of this year. This will be a first in Zimbabwe as it will be the first ever youth township.
“All these stands will be given to youths, no one else,” said Kasukuwere then.
However, more than a year now, nothing seems to be taking place at the land.
Contacted for comment Zanu PF youth secretary Kudzanayi Chipanga said he was out of the country referring questions to Urdcop planning officer Constance Muchoni.
“The project is still on-going. We are still in the process of designing the land.
“What delayed us is that we wanted it to be a high density suburb but then we realised part of the land fell on the restricted zone but it’s something that we are working on,” Muchoni told Southern News.
She, however, dismissed claims that there have been monies that have been paid to Udcorp.
“We haven’t started taking anyone’s money except that we asked people to open accounts with IDBZ where they will be depositing their monies maybe on a monthly basis, the money which they will use when the stands are out,” she said.
Muchoni said stands were likely to be distributed next year after the plans have been approved and servicing done among other necessities.