HUNDREDS of desperate Chinhoyi homeseekers were at the weekend sold a dummy when a Zanu PF meeting supposedly to register them for low-cost residential stands turned out to be political gamesmanship to counter a Zimbabwe People First rally.
The Zanu PF event was convened at Chinhoyi Stadium, while ZimPF held its rally at Gadzema grounds, a stone’s throw away.
Chinhoyi mayor Test Michaels and several Zanu PF councillors and officials were evidently in a fix to convince the crowd of the sincerity of the stands’ registration exercise, which largely turned out to be a sloganeering contest.
“I don’t know where the stands would come from. There are people better placed to comment on that. However, what l know is that stands have been given elsewhere such as in Harare and Norton, so why shouldn’t that be extended to Chinhoyi,” he said.
For the better part of the day, the crowd which grew impatient by the minute was treated to Zanu PF jingles blurring from a public address system. By sunset the gathering started streaming out of the venue feeling cheated.
Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who doubles as Zanu PF national political commissar, and youth leader Kudzanai Chipanga, who were billed to grace the event, failed to show up, further casting doubt on the motive of the exercise.
Meanwhile, a new local governance lobby group, Residents’ Forum (REF), has written to Kasukuwere ordering him to stop bypassing local councils in his partisan distribution of residential stands.
REF co-ordinator Denford Ngadziore wrote: “Zanu PF is distributing stands to the youths throughout the country and the exercise is not supported by any laws of the country.”
“The National Housing Policy stipulates that government should provide land to local authorities that are mandated to do all the planning together with the Department of Physical Planning.
Stands are then made available to the people through councils, government, private developers or co-operatives. Political parties absolutely have no role in the distribution of stands.
Kasukuwere has been on a whirlwind tour of the country doling out stands to youths in what critics say is a vote-buying gimmick ahead of the 2018 elections.-Newsday