BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
VILLAGERS in Umzingwane ward 12 in Matabeleland South province have expressed concern over the failure to construct the Lumene-Mpopoma Dam which was mooted 23 years ago.
The project stalled in 1999 after surveyors pegged it and asked the villagers to provide building materials such as sand and stones. The villagers also cleared the site in anticipation of construction work to begin.
However, almost 23 years after the project was mooted, nothing has been done to implement it.
Villagers have of late been struggling to access water for domestic use and for their livestock as most water sources have dry up.
Ward 12 councillor Eliot Dube appealed to government to resume the project.
“Lumene-Mpopoma Dam was supposed to be constructed alongside the Mtshabezi Dam project 23 years ago, but it did not happen. Soon after independence, the government pegged the dam and promised that the project was going to commence soon, but nothing materialised,” Dube said.
“After some years other surveyors came and pegged the dam and villagers were told to source building materials so that the project can begin.
We did as we were asked, but no progress was made. Even today, the stones are still there.”
Dube said non-governmental organisations had turned down a request for financial assistance.
“It is more than 30 years now since the government promised to complete the project.
We want to know the way forward. Is the project going to be completed or we should just forget about it?
“We tried to approach a non-governmental organisation to assist us with the project, but it could not afford to do so as a lot of money was needed.”
Nomusa Moyo, a villager, said they were also ordered to relocate as the dam was expected to cover a wide area.
“Some of our neighbours relocated in 2000 after they were told that the construction of the dam will force other people to shift.
To our surprise, nothing has been done to date. Some of the materials that we gathered were stolen,” she said.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said she could not comment on the issue as she was tied up.