Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Traditional leaders in Chiredzi have implored Government to prioritise infrastructure development projects for those who will be relocated as part of the Save Valley Conservancy reorganisation.
They said Government should put in place irrigation schemes, schools and other social amenities for the villages.
The European Union, through its implementing partner Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has put up $14 million for the reorganisation and mapping of new boundaries at the conservancy.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ consultation meeting in the Save Conservancy last week, Chief Tshovani (Mr Felix Mundau) requested that part of the EU fund be channelled to setting up social amenities for members of the community.
“We want the fund to be used in the development of schools, clinics and hospitals,” he said. “No one will refuse to be relocated to an area which is safe and has essential services.
“We are equally concerned with the continued attacks on livestock and human beings living around Save Valley Conservancy by wild animals, especially lions.
“Several communal farmers have been losing crops to wildlife and are forced in some cases to ask for food. This has become a perennial problem.”
Chief Tshovani said some sugarcane farmers in Mkwasine were losing their crop to elephants and buffaloes.
Chief Gudo (Mr Mavivi Karukai) said the fencing off of boundaries was long overdue.
He said the delays in finalising the matter was stalling development in the area.
Chief Gudo said most farmers were relucant to erect permanent structures due to pending evictions.
“We want this issue of fencing to be addressed once and for all so that villagers and those intending to do business move forward,” he said.
“This is the time for us to finalise, if we are to draw new boundaries let them be drawn because we want this issue to be finalised. If we want to develop our area we must move with speed.”
The ongoing consultations are in response to efforts by Government and its partners to resolve issues pertaining to Save Valley Conservancy.