SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Tokwe-Mukosi Flood Victims Demand Compensation

Victims of the Tokwe-Mukosi flood have demanded a total of $9 million and vowed they will not move from the Chingwizi holding camp until they have received the compensation, reports said Monday.

More than 3,000 people were relocated to the camp following flooding after heavy rain and fears that the Tokwe-Mukosi dam wall could collapse.

The government has since begun relocating the flood victims to designated permanent settlement areas. But, according to reports, angry villagers told a visiting ministerial committee led by local government minister Ignatius Chombo, that unless their demands are met they will stay put.

Chombo threatened the villagers with a ban on the food handouts which are being distributed by various humanitarian organisations if the villagers refuse to move. Chombo acknowledged the government's indebtedness to the villagers but insisted that there was no money to meet their demands.

MDC-T shadow minister for local government, Sesel Zvidzai, told SW Radio Africa that the villagers were right to demand compensation. He added: 'Any normal government would have budgeted for these circumstances. It is a known fact that Zimbabwe does, from time to time, experiences disasters of varying kinds and so the government should always be ready.'

Since the February floods villagers have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the government handled the crisis. Many villagers said they lost all their property during their relocation to the holding camp.

There are also fears that the government has ulterior motives about the whole exercise. The holding camp center is not easily accessible to visitors and is tightly controlled by the police.

Recently, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was denied permission to visit the camp to donate clothes and food stuffs.

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