30 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Chinese Firm Fails to Complete Dam Construction Project

Photo: Bill Corcoran/IRIN
Kariba Dam,Lake Kariba from the Zimbabwean side.

Buhera — A Chinese company that won a tender to construct Marovanyati Dam in Buhera district has failed to complete the project citing funding constraints.

The dam was earmarked to be a source of livelihood for hundreds of households in the district that suffers perennial drought due to poor rains.

The company, Jiangxi International Corporation, began the construction of the dam in 2003 and was expected to complete it in 2009. However, the company has since stopped work because it has run out of funds.

An official from Jiangxi International Corporation, who chose to remain anonymous for protocol reasons, said: "I do not see the construction of the dam continuing anytime soon. There is no money at all. We are grounded and we are ready to continue with the construction if we can get more funding."

Buhera district chief executive officer Kingstone Matsinde urged the government to intervene and prioritise the construction of the dam.

"The government should now prioritise this project because there is an increasing demand of water because as we speak right now, the district has already stretched its limit," he said. "It is sad because if there is no funding injected in this project, the money that was poured into the project would go to waste."

The dam was supposed to provide domestic and industrial water to people at Murambinda growth point and surrounding areas. The project was also earmarked to irrigate 3 650 hectares of land. The failure to complete the dam has resulted in about 1 000 people losing their jobs while 10 families were relocated to facilitate the construction of the water reservoir.

Residents of Murambinda last week called on the government to prioritise the issue.

"This is a very serious issue. There is continuous hunger in Buhera and the provision of water would have helped people to embark on irrigation projects, but now we are stranded," said Kenneth Masomere.

Residents urged the responsible authorities to partner with non-governmental organisations and the private sector to ensure the completion of the project, seen as the panacea to hunger and poverty in the district.

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