Kasukuwere admits bungling Tokwe Murkosi

via Kasukuwere admits bungling | The Financial Gazette – Zimbabwe News by Clemence Manyukwe 13 Mar 2014

ENVIRONMENT, Water and Climate Change Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has admitted that government bungled in its handling of the Tokwe Murkosi flooding disaster, revealing that engineers had also not foreseen such a catastrophe.

Kasukuwere told Senators last week that authorities failed in their planning and that engineers had not budgeted for the heavy rains that overwhelmed the area, rendering thousands of people homeless.

“I agree with the Honourable chief (Fortune Charumbira) that we failed in our planning because we did not prepare for the compensation to the people who were disturbed by the floods. According to our plan, the climate change was unpredictable; we did not expect such a catastrophe to happen. As a result, we were forced to move people out of the area and resettle them elsewhere within a week,” he said in response to a question from president of the Chiefs Council, Charumbira, on the state of affairs in the area.

“I must also admit that as a government we delayed and we were not pro-active because we should have predicted that since we have had such rains, we should have prepared for ways and means of assisting people during the flood season but we are working on that.”

The World’s Dams Association emphasises that when people are moved due to floods, they must be compensated by government for, among others, the trauma endured. When completed, Tokwe Murkosi would benefit five irrigation schemes billed to be the largest small-scale irrigation development in Zimbabwe. When engineers were working on the plans for the dam, they looked at possible future scenarios and concluded that flooding would not exceed a certain amount and that this would happen within a period of 30 years, but were wrong.

The engineers also projected that the dam would be getting 1,8 billion cubic litres of water in four years and constructed a coffer dam responsible for catching water before it flows into the bigger Tokwe Murkosi Dam.

“When we look at the whole of Masvingo, we will be getting 400-500ml of rain per year but this season we got more than 800ml in one week. These rains then filled the small dam that was supposed to be holding 600ml and the water flowed onto the big wall and this covered the 2 600 hectares with water,” explained Kasukuwere.

“Many people were inconvenienced, graves were destroyed, school children were disturbed in their education and the farmers have also been disturbed.” Last month, the Financial Gazette reported that a decision to change the initial design for the Tokwe Murkosi Dam to cut costs could be behind the present structural challenges now threatening the multi-million dollar reservoir.



  • comment-avatar
    John Thomas 10 years ago

    This is what happens when you vote for fools. Fools cannot help you with your real problems

    • comment-avatar
      Ruramai 10 years ago

      John, I think we would have been better off with fools in stead of insatiably greedy gangsters, thieves and murderers.

  • comment-avatar

    Zanu pf engineers I presume!

  • comment-avatar
    Sekuru Mapenga 10 years ago

    Minister Kasukuwere choses to blame the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam disaster on an extreme rainfall event and accepts that the engineers had not planned for 800 mm in one week, a 1 in 100 year event. Of course, no dam construction engineer would base his construction plan on a 1:100 year event. It would be just too expensive.

    The real failure is that the construction of the Tokwe Mukorsi dam has been stopped and started and endlessly delayed by Government bungling. That is where the real blame lies. The dam has been sitting there half complete for 25 years just waiting for an extreme climate event; a disaster waiting to happen. The dam should have been finished in the 1990’s. But half way through construction, the money was reallocated to who knows where, and the dam was never completed.

    We should bear in mind that Ian Smith told the then incoming Prime Minister Mugabe that the single most economically important infrastructure investment was Tokwe Mukorsi and that it would irrigate 25,000 ha. of rich low-veld soils.
    We all know what Mr Mugabe did with that advice. Its one of the reasons that Zimbabwe is now the second poorest per capita income country in the world.