HUNDREDS of soldiers, police officers and other security agents are set to get residential stands ahead of elections in a move being viewed as an attempt by Zanu PF to buy votes, it has emerged.
BY OUR STAFF
Officials in the Ministry of Local Government Rural and Urban Development said they had been instructed to ensure that housing cooperatives and organisations linked to Zanu PF get land to be dolled out to mostly members of the uniformed services.
“Ordinary soldiers and other security agents have been complaining that they are not benefitting from government programmes yet their bosses are living lavishly,” said an official in the ministry. “In order to pacify them ahead of elections, hundreds of stands are being allocated to members of the army, police, prison and the intelligence.”
He said Apostolic and other Independent African Initiated churches were also benefitting from the same programme. Most leaders of these churches have openly shown their allegiance to Zanu PF.
Some of the organisations which were distributing land to soldiers include Destiny of Africa Network (DAnet) led by Zanu PF sympathiser Rev Obadiah Msindo.
Msindo yesterday said there was nothing wrong with members of the military and other security agents getting stands ahead of elections.
“No one is going to stop us from giving them stands and houses because they are underpaid by Tendai Biti (Finance minister) yet the peace and tranquillity we are enjoying now is because of them,” he said. “They cannot continue to be lodgers in a country they are protecting and defending.”
Msindo said over 200 soldiers in Mutare and Bindura have already been given complete houses, while several others were set to get residential stands in various cities and towns.
“We are pushing that by 2015 over 100 000 stands should have been fully developed for soldiers and other security agents,” he said.
The Ministry of Local Government officials said several other housing cooperatives specifically for the uniformed forces have mushroomed in different parts of the country. The cooperatives were given priority in terms of allocation of land. Local authorities were being also directed to reserve land.
Local Government minister, Ignatious Chombo, whose ministry is in charge of all state land and controls local authorities, could not be reached for comment.