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Minister: Chingwizi Flood Victims' Relocation Mission Accomplished

Zimbabwean police on patrol at the Chingwizi transit camp for over 20,000 people displaced as a result of the flooded Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam. (File Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, is claiming mission accomplished in relocating more than 20,000 flood victims from Chingwizi holding camp to Nuanetsi Ranch.

The minister is claiming that the relocated people are “very happy” and had been held hostage for months by hooligans whom he claims were blocking their move using threats.

But some of the relocated people have shot down Bhasikiti’s claims and allege they are starving and are sleeping in the open in Nuanetsi.

The flood victims were refusing to move, insisting the government pays them the $9 million it had promised them as compensation plus larger pieces of land.

Under the new constitution, the government is compelled to compensate people it relocates.

The cash-strapped government has failed to raise the money leading to rising tensions and violence.

Humanitarian organisations, which were assisting the flood victims, have pulled out after alleged frustration in dealing with the government. There have been allegations of looting of donated goods, leading to the arrest of some police officers.

Bhasikiti though said the relocated families have settled well at Nuanetsi Ranch.

But relocated villager, Milton Shumba said the government has dumped them and they are suffering.

Despite the negative publicity that the Tokwe Mukosi Dam has attracted largely as a result of alleged government bungling, the construction of the $430 million Tokwe-Mukosi Dam has potential to boost the country’s economy.

When completed, Tokwe-Mukosi will be Zimbabwe’s biggest inland dam with a capacity to generate 50 megawatts of electricity, enough to light up the whole of Masvingo province. The dam is also expected to boost tourism and agriculture and create jobs for the community.