THE High Court of Zimbabwe on Wednesday (today) declared the distribution of land by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Saviour Kasukuwere to Zanu PF youths only null and void, as unconstitutional.
High Court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe made the ruling in a case in which the Residents Forum, a group representing residents in Harare and other cities and towns was seeking a declaration stopping Kasukwere from partisan distribution of residential stands which were also under local authorities.
“Whereupon after reading the arguments filed of record and hearing Counsel, it is ordered that the conduct of the first respondent to allocate residential stands to Zanu PF youths be and is hereby declared to be discriminatory and in breach of Section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” says Hungwe.
“The conduct of the first respondent in allocating land in areas falling under local authorities be and is hereby declared to be ultra vires the provision of Section 264, 265, 274 and 276 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“These lands were being allocated to Zanu PF youths and members only so the forum was seeking three things. The first was to seek a declaration that the practice of giving residential stands to only Zanu PF was unconstitutional.”
Douglas Mwonzora, the lawyer representing the Residents Forum, welcomed the judgment saying it was a positive development.
He said the court had emphasised that it was illegal to discriminate against citizens on partisan lines, especially when that discrimination was by blacks on blacks.
“We are very excited that this is a progressive judgment and we want to give credit to Minister Kasukuwere that he did not even oppose this application because there was really nothing to oppose,” says Mwonzora, who is also secretary general of the opposition MDC T.
Mwonzora said if Kasukuwere was to oppose the application, his argument would have been that discrimination along partisan lines was justified, which could have subjected him to ridicule. He said while the judgment was a good development, they were now waiting to see if Kasukuwere and his colleagues in Zanu PF would not defy it.
“We know that Zanu PF are arrogant and if he does not follow the court judgment, we will just take him on. There are enough remedies for people who don’t follow court judgments and we will deal with him in his personal capacity as well as his official capacity but we will visit him on his personal capacity,” he says.
“We are waiting to see whether any government official is going to defy this court order and we will deal with them. Zimbabweans have had enough of people who do not follow the law which they actually set,” he said.
Mwonzora said the country’s Constitution was clear on the non partisan distribution of national resources.
“This is in terms of the Constitution that was signed into law by President Mugabe in 2013 and therefore anybody who doesn’t follow this law will have to be dealt with. I think now citizens have grown teeth to bite these big people.”
He said the the allocation had to be redone by the correct authority, in this case the municipality, and had to be done along impartial and nonpartisan lines.
“Everything that was allocated on the basis of political affiliation is null and void, this is the beauty of this judgement,” says Mwonzora.
Kasukuwere has been distributing land to Zanu PF youths across the country in a move that opposition political parties and civil society organisations described as a political gimmick ahead of the make or break 2018 elections in which the ruling party has already endorsed 92 year old President Robert Mugabe as its candidate.
Kasukwere recently allocated more than 5000 stands to Zanu PF youths in Norton ahead of a by-election in which the ruling party lost to an Independent candidate Temba Mliswa. – ANA