Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
President Mugabe yesterday appointed a seven-member Commission of Inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005.
The commission is chaired by Justice Tendai Uchena. The Commission was appointed in terms of section 2 (1) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act that empowers the President to take such a step when he considers it advisable.
Other members of the commission are Mr Andrew Mlalazi, Mr Stephen Chakaipa, Dr Tarisai Mutangi, Dr Heather Chingono, Ms Vimbai Nyemba and Ms Petronella Musarurwa. The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza is secretary to the Commission.
According to President Mugabe’s proclamation in the Government Gazette, the inquiry will run for 12 months from the day of gazetting with an option of a three months extension, with a comprehensive report expected to be produced at the end of the inquiry.
The Commission’s terms of reference shall be:
(i) “To investigate and identify all State land in and around urban areas that was acquired and allocated to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for urban development since 2005;
(ii) To investigate and ascertain the status of such land in terms of ownership, occupation and development; (c) to investigate methods of acquisition and/or allocation by current occupants and owners of such land;
(iii) To investigate and ascertain the actors involved in allocations, occupation and use of such land;
(v) To conduct visitations where necessary, summon witnesses, record proceedings, minute testimonies and document, consider and manage all information gathered in order to arrive at appropriate findings and recommendations to the President;
(vi) To investigate any other matter which the Commission of Inquiry may deem appropriate and relevant to the inquiry; to report to the President in writing, the result of the inquiry.”
The President also directed that the inquiry may be held both in public or privately as the exigencies of the inquiry may determine. The appointment of the Commission follows the mushrooming of illegal settlements in most urban areas, most of which were established from the illegal sale of State land by land barons.
This has led to demolitions of residential structures in the past prejudicing ordinary people of their hard earned money.
Most of the settlements do not have water and sewer reticulation and other infrastructure such as roads, electricity, schools and clinics.