via Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims return to original homes | The Herald August 5, 2014 by George Maponga
Over 100 families relocated to Chingwizi have left the camp and returned to their original homes in the Tokwe-Mukosi flood basin in Chivi, as the stand-off between the families and Government over compensation and unfulfilled promises deepens.The families were relocated following floods that hit the basin last year and they are returning to the place a few months before the rainy season starts, risking being affected by fresh floods.
Most of the returning families were said to be looking for pastures for their livestock after losing some of their cattle due to starvation at the camp.
Their return comes as Chingwizi camp has reportedly been deserted, with most of the camp dwellers going into hiding after a police clampdown to quell riots which took place last Friday.
Hundreds of camp dwellers have since been arrested, while police were still hunting for others suspected to be behind the torching of two police vehicles last Friday during protests against plans by authorities to relocate a clinic from the camp to permanent plots.
Police have been maintaining a heavy presence at Chingwizi camp since Saturday to contain the riots, while the media was being barred from accessing the camp.
Sources said more families at Chingwizi were planning to journey back to their original homes in the flood basin, unless Government released the nearly US$9 million promised for the victims.
The camp dwellers are also not happy that Government has reneged on its earlier promise to allocate each family four hectares of land by giving them one hectare each.
Chairman of the Tokwe-Mukosi village heads committee Mr Mike Mudyanembwa last Friday confirmed that some families were returning to their homes in the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam’s flood basin.
Zupco buses that ply the Chingwizi-Masvingo route were recording an upsurge in the number of passengers as the camp dwellers returned to their original homes.
“Over 100 families have so far returned to their original homes and they are taking with them their property such as roofing sheets and other valuables,” said Mr Mudyanembwa.
“Every day, an average of five families pack their belongings and get onto a Zupco bus to return to their homes in Chivi district or Masvingo district.”
Masvingo provincial administrator and chairman of the Tokwe-Mukosi relocation committee Mr Felix Chikovo said they were still to establish the numbers that had returned.
“I have to verify whether there are some families that are returning to the flood basin, but there are some families in the buffer zone whose homes were not submerged by floods and we went ahead and relocated them with others,” he said.
“The main reason why we moved them was because they had been cut off from essential services such as clinics and schools.”
Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi was not answering his phone for an update on the number of people arrested so far in the clampdown on violence at Chingwizi camp.