6 000 families face eviction

Source: 6 000 families face eviction – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 13, 2017

THE government is set to relocate another 6 000 households in the Tokwe Mukosi buffer zone to pave way for fisheries, a game park and irrigation schemes, although the official line is that it is meant to prevent silting the dam, Southern Eye has learnt.

By Tatenda Chitagu

This will add to the 18 000 villagers, who were affected by flooding in the dam basin three years ago and relocated to Chingwizi transit camp without compensation, before being moved again to one-hectare plots each in Nuanetsi Ranch, about 40km away.

Water, Environment principal director, Tinaishe Muzara revealed this during a stakeholders’ meeting in Masvingo city recently.

He said the families are in the dam buffer zone and have to be removed to avoid silting the dam.

“We had already identified the families in 2013, while doing feasibility studies, but they were not removed because they were not directly affected by floods when others were moved.

“By now, they could be more. They are in the dam reservation area and their activities like farming will lead to siltation. We have to preserve our dam,”
Muzara, who was leading a task force committee from his ministry, said.

He could not state when the relocations will start, or where those affected will be moved to, saying they will consult with the government on the issue.

“We will appeal to the government for the modalities to help us move them,” Muzara said.

He said the taskforce is supposed to probe the actual number of families to be evicted and also help with assessing their properties for compensation purposes.

However, the government is yet to fully compensate the Chingwizi villagers, who are living miserable lives in makeshift shelters, facing water and food shortages as the area is not suitable for farming and human habitation.

Out of the $9 million needed for their compensation, only $3,5 million was availed, which did not cover everyone.

Part of the compensation money, $1,5 million was released about a week before President Robert Mugabe went to officially commission the dam two months ago.