Source: Tugwi-Mukosi recreational park demarcation complete | The Herald July 26, 2019
George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Government is forging ahead with plans to create a recreational park at Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in southern Masvingo, with plans at an advanced stage to gazette its boundaries, paving the way for development work to start.
The planned recreational park will comprise hotels and lodges, together with a wildlife sanctuary that will be in the dam’s buffer zone.
The development also comes amid revelations that additional families will be relocated from Tugwi-Mukosi Dam’s immediate surroundings to create space for the planned wildlife habitat.
Over 3 000 families were initially evacuated from the dam’s basin in Chivi more than five years ago in arguably the largest mass relocation of people in post-independent Zimbabwe.
Tugwi-Mukosi recreational park is one of the major projects earmarked for the country’s largest inland reservoir that is touted as a key catalyst to drive economic revival and growth as Zimbabwe angles for upper middle income status by the year 2030.
Addressing stakeholders during a recent visit to Tugwi-Mukosi by members of the Inter-ministerial taskforce on the dam project, Chief Environmental Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry Mr Joseph Shoko said the planned park was now awaiting gazetting.
Mr Shoko said after gazetting, focus will shift to establishing the number of families to be displaced by the planned park and compensation mechanisms, among other loose ends.
‘‘The boundary for the planned recreational park is now in place and what remains is gazetting of the boundaries by Government,” he said. “There will also be relocation of people to create space for the recreational park.
‘‘We will soon embark on an exercise to establish the number of people who will be moved and identifying areas where they will be resettled. We will also need to look at the issue of compensation to the affected families.’’
Mr Shoko said besides creating a recreational park, communities from around the dam and the larger Masvingo province have already started to accrue benefits from the water body through fishing.
He said more than 15 fishing co-operatives targeting youths and women have already been licenced to venture into commercial fishing at the dam.
In his remarks, Chivi South National Assembly representative Cde Killer Zivhu implored the Tugwi-Mukosi task-force to make sure there was a clear relocation model of families that will be displaced by the development.
He said Government should be wary of repeating the 2014 Tugwi-Mukosi relocation debacle that ended with thousands of people being forced to stay in an overcrowded temporary camp at Chingwizi.
‘‘We need to make sure that people know in advance about where they will go and how they will go there including making sure that people are fully compensated before they are moved,’’ said Cde Zivhu.