‘Digitalize land system to avoid corruption’
BY Tariro Guwira
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has called for the digitalisation of the land registry system after a survey revealed that 60 percent of people in Mutare paid a bribe to access land at City Council.
Speaking at a Land Corruption Stakeholder dialogue meeting last week TIZ researcher Mr Farai Mutondoro said transition houses have been erected everywhere because people are evading rent that has become expensive .
“Many people are moving to the urban areas and it has become congested and land is being priced high which means corruption is high too. A survey we did revealed that about 60 percent of people in Mutare have paid a bribe to council officials to get land .
Statistics reveal that 3,2 percent per year of people are moving to the urban area .Mote so people are fleeing from economic hardships that are pushing them to want to be landlords and nolonger pay rent,” said Mutondoro.
He added that if the system was digitalized just like the passport, marriage and birth registry system land corruption will decline.
“Compliance cost is high versus bribery cost which is low.
Normally people vouch for bribery because its low .The system should be so simple, right now it is rigid making everyone corrupt,” he added.
Mutondoro cited that standardization of figures is needed to avoid people being charged differently when acquiring land.
“Information disclosure on how to acquire land should be done transparently so to avoid people buying land at different rates leading to corruption.
Accountability is lacking .That is why we have embarked on the Land and Corruption in Africa project which is running in Zimbabwe and other four countries”said Mutondoro.
Mutondoro further added that the Land and Corruption Project will assist in contributing to the livelihoods of people.
“We trying to promote a people centred governance and let people interact with the system because as it is the system has made us all corrupt and corruption is driven by low salaries,” he added.
Ministry of Small to medium enterprises, Provincial Head Kupukai Masunungure said the chain involved in Gimboki housing scheme is big and now as it stands it’s difficult for sewer systems to be erected.
“There has been a string of challenges ,yes there is the Urban Development Cooperation (UDCORP) a Government entity mandated to ensure provision of housing, but the situation with Gimboki is pathetic and solving it will take time .
There have been double allocations on one stand and with that alone it has been a big challenge,” said Masunungure.
He added that a total of 5628 stands were given in Gimboki and if they were paying $40 subscription every month it means cooperatives made money from innocent people.
“It is so unfortunate and sad that things had to be that way .I hope UDCORP will turn around the situation at hand,” said Masunungure.
Mutare Residents and Rate Payers Association Director, David Mutambirwa said housing crisis has taken over urban settings and people are left with no option than to create copying mechanisms.
“Corruption has become rampant and it’s obvious the system has failed.
All corrupt officials should be prosecuted for example in China they have a death sentence for everyone who commits corruption pertaining to land,” said Mutambirwa.
He added that government should put in place financial management policies to curb corruption.
“I recommend government to have in place financial management programmes on housing programmes so to curb corruption,” he added.