ZANU PF Speaks On Title Deeds, Land Ownership, 99-year Leases, 2023 Elections
The ruling party in Zimbabwe, ZANU PF, has denied allegations that the government is distributing title deeds and legitimising illegal settlements to gain votes in the upcoming elections this year.
The party’s director of Information and Publicity, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, made the claim in an interview with ZiFM’s Larry Kwirirayi on Monday night.
Title Deeds and Elections:
When asked whether the ZANU PF administration was handing Epworth residents title deeds to persuade them to vote for the ruling party, Mugwadi said:
We’re not doing it for elections. Last year there was no election when the president made that promise. When that promise was made, the opposition said that this was a lie, this was a political gimmick. No title deeds were going to be issued to residents in Epworth. No one took him (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) seriously but the residents did and that’s why we won the Epworth constituency anyway.
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The president made a promise to grant title deeds to Epworth residents in March of last year, just before the 26th March by-elections. ZANU PF’s Zalerah Hazvinei Makari won the Epworth constituency in those by-elections.
Epworth is a residential suburb located in Zimbabwe‘s capital city, Harare (formerly Salsbury). It is, however, not a part of the Harare City Government. Salsbury refused to incorporate Epworth so it remained a separate community.
Retaining Land Ownership; 99-year-lease
Mugwadi stated that the government plans to maintain the 99-year leases to prevent land abuse, but he was unclear whether residents of Epworth who received title deeds are allowed to sell their residential properties. He said:
We know very well that there are attempts by white people to reclaim land in Zimbabwe through backdoor means. What that means is that iwewe Larry tikakuti chitora maTitle deeds pa700 hectare farm iwe wonotsvaga Mr Jones kuti chihuyai mundibatsire kurima kana kuti woritengesa kuna Mr Jones iwewe wakariwana nemarii kuGovernment? You were given freely by government through the Land Reform Programme. Isn’t that so? So no one must seek to claim title over what he got freely from Government. So the thing is, we seek to retain ownership of the land through the state because we know that land reform processes in Africa are under threat from imperialists and neocolonialists who think that land reform should not have taken place.
Radio show listeners expressed concerns about the difficulty that land beneficiaries may face in developing the land, which could potentially be taken away from them at any time.
Zimbabwe has carried out land reform in various stages since 1980, with the most notable being the Fast-Track Land Reform program initiated by the Robert Mugabe government in the early 2000s.