The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Cabinet Committee Tours Chingwizi Camp

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday urged close to 3 000 families at Chingwizi temporary camp in Mwenezi to move to permanent plots in the Nuanetsi Ranch while Government mobilises about US$9 million for compensation.The families were displaced from the Tokwe-Mukosi basin in Chivi after floods destroyed their homes and property forcing Government to evacuate them to Chingwizi.

The families have been refusing to vacate the temporary camp demanding compensation for their damaged homes and property first.

However, Minister Chombo who was leading a three-men ministerial delegation on a tour of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam and Chingwizi said Government wanted sanity to prevail at the temporary camp.

"Every family will get its dues from Government once the funds have been mobilised and lack of compensation should not stop people from moving to permanent plots as there is a real high risk of outbreak of diseases such as typhoid because of overcrowding.

"We are going to give every family that has not been compensated a document acknowledging that they are owed money by Government. The amount owed was based on valuations done on their property will also be written on that document which should be produced for a family to get compensation when resources are eventually found," he said.

Minister Chombo challenged the Masvingo political leadership to set up an interim team that would engage flood victims at Chingwizi to persuade them to move to the new plots.

He also warned that Government would not continue to provide food to families who resist moving to permanent plots.

This was after revelations that some of the flood victims were now comfortable in the camp where they get free food handouts.

"Why should we continue to provide food to families who insist on staying in the camp when their plots to build permanent structures are ready? We should make it clear that food assistance will only be given to those families who agree to move to their permanent plots because, we need to de-congest Chingwizi temporary camp," he said.

The minister stressed that Government wanted a modern resettlement model to be followed in settling the flood victims who should benefit from Tokwe-Mukosi Dam water.

Minister of State in Vice President Joice Mujuru's Office Sylvester Nguni said it was important for the Tokwe-Mukosi relocation co-ordinating committee to ensure that genuine flood victims get plots for irrigation.

Minister Nguni said in the event of compensation money being secured, those who have agreed to move to permanent plots should get first priority.

Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Tendai Savanhu said there was need to introduce water-tight mechanisms in paying compensation to avoid double dipping by some of the victims.

Chairperson of the Tokwe-Mukosi relocation committee and Masvingo provincial administrator Mr Felix Chikovo said 2 429 families are owed US$8,9 million in compensation at Chingwizi.

Mr Chikovo also said 2 241 plots have been pegged in the Nuanetsi Ranch with only 510 volunteers having agreed to take up their plots. He said more funds were needed to drill 32 boreholes to improve water supplies in the new resettlement schemes.

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