BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
GOVERNMENT says it will channel US$2 million to resettle Lubimbi villagers residing within the Gwayi-Shangani Dam catchment area.
The Lubimbi villagers expect to be relocated before the dam, that is expected to supply water to Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces, starts to fill up.
Matabeleland North minister of State Richard Moyo yesterday said: “The government will channel US$2 million to cater for Lubimbi villagers who dwell along Gwayi-Shangani Dam. Houses are going to be constructed for them away from the project.”
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) co-ordinator Khumbulani Maphosa urged government to make sure it properly relocated the villagers to avoid a repeat of Masvingo’s Chingwizi debacle whereby people who were displaced by the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam are still complaining of inadequate assistance by government during their relocation.
In a statement, Maphosa said government should seriously consider how and where the Lubimbi villagers would be relocated.
“MIHR appreciates the holding of the high level inter-ministerial indaba on Lake Gwayi-Shangani being convened by the Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development ministry in Hwange on Friday. We implore the high level indaba to abide by the tenets of constitutionalism and formulate a clear, inclusive and human rights-based compensation and relocation framework before any displacements take place as dictated by sections 65 and 66 of the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy,” the MIHR
Maphosa said they had received complaints from villagers that government had not yet consulted them about how they were going to be relocated and compensated.
“MIHR has been monitoring the Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction and is concerned by complaints from the Lubimbi villagers who have decried lack of consultation regarding the displacements, unclear communication of the displacement plan, blackout on compensation modalities and a poor communication system,” he said.
The Lubimbi community wants the relocation exercise to safeguard their education, health, water, cultural rights and the proper repatriation and reburial of their dead relatives in terms of their cultural norms.