Local organisations vow to stop Cleveland wetland invasion

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

A number of local organisations have vowed to stop the construction of a vocational and residential stands by a development consortium  linked to former deputy finance minister Terence Mukupe.

Addressing a press briefing  on Monday ,Community Water Alliance national coordinator Hardlife Mudzingwa said  his organisation together with like-minded organisation is determined to save the wetland by stopping Nakiso Holdings from the construction.

“To all those who are doubting our capacity ,this is a litmus test.

“We are mobilizing residents of Mabvuku and Tafara to make sure the construction ear-marked at the Cleveland Wetland stop forthwith and will not  relent until the developer shelves such plans,” vowed Mudzingwa.

According to Cleveland Action Alliance chairperson Jimmy Mahachi expressed concern that the construction will exacerbate the water crisis in  Mabvuku-Tafara.

“As Cleveland Action Alliance we are worried by developments in the Cleveland Action Alliance area,which is a Ramsar site and source of water for Cleveland Dam and Lake Chivero.

“As a board that represents interests of Mabvuku residents especially wards 19 and 21 which have gone for almost three decades without tap water from council, building on wetland is totally unacceptable as it further depletes water sources,” reasoned Mahachi.

The Community Water Alliance and the Loreen  Mupasiri-led Combined Harare Residents Association have put in a catalogue  of demands necessary to stop the Cleveland Wetland construction and curb prospective  wetlands invasions.

“Governmet must respect international treaties , domestic laws and its policies by immediately stopping construction activities currently underway in  the Cleveland Catchment Wetland area.

“Full implementation of devolution as provided by Chapter 14 of the constitution and allow citizens to have a voice on the management of natural resources within their local areas.

“Political parties in Zimbabwe should come up with comprehensive and robust climate change policies that will include wetlands protection in their election manifestos ahead of the 2023 elections,” read parts of the demands by the organisations.

Efforts to get a comment from former Harare East legislator Terence Mukupe hit a snag but he was quoted in the public weekly paper saying construction is going ahead because approval and inspection of the construction site was above board.

However, the developer was recently fined $100 000 RTGS by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for construction with an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) certificate and was ordered to halt construction.

In 2013 , EMA initially halted the construction of the Long Cheng Plaza shopping mall on a wetland but later succumbed to pressure perceived to be from political bigwigs.