Govt urged to criminalise destruction of wetlands

Source: Govt urged to criminalise destruction of wetlands – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2018

FORMER Finance minister Ignatius Chombo allegedly illegally allocated himself and his associates land on wetlands, a motion on wetlands which was moved in the National Assembly by Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi on Tuesday has revealed.


The motion, which was seconded by Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna, called on government to show seriousness by enacting legislation to criminalise the destruction of wetlands.

Maridadi alleged that Chombo allocated a wetland area in Borrowdale to a prominent businessman to build a shopping mall.

“That land controls all wetlands in Harare and what it means is that water which goes to Lake Chivero is reduced because of that wetland,” Maridadi said.

Maridadi said his investigations revealed that former Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi is a director in the company that got the Borrowdale wetland.

The MP then alleged that Chombo went on to construct a filling station at a Kambuzuma wetland without authority from the City of Harare. He alleged that after building it, he then asked them to authorise and regularise it.

“There are a lot of buildings in Harare built on wetlands. Long Cheng Plaza sits in the heart of wetlands in Harare and it has compromised all underground water in the east of that plaza. If that plaza was constructed in China, it would have been demolished,” Maridadi said.

Mutasa Central MP Trevor Saruwaka said when MPs visited Long Cheng Plaza, the Chinese investor closed the gates on them telling them that he would only deal with Chombo who allocated the land to him.

Nduna added: “No matter how much the Chinese can be termed the developers of this global community, it should not be condoned and it certainly should, in the strongest of terms, be repudiated the way that they fraudulently go and establish their infrastructure on wetlands.”

Maridadi then cited that another wetlands scandal on Monavale Vlei in Harare where five hectares of wetland were allegedly allocated to an Indian family by Chombo.

Harare West MP Jessie Majome said seed houses must be stopped from promoting their seeds by cultivating on wetlands.

“Politicians must stop allocating land to their supporters on wetlands, especially towards elections,” Majome said.

Buhera West MP Oliver Mandipaka said the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government must thoroughly investigate the issue of parcelling of land on wetlands and table a report in Parliament.