Strained Conjugal Rights Affecting Displaced Tokwe-Mukosi Couples

Masvingo, March 8, 2014- Couples displaced by flash floods along the Tokwe-Mukorsi flood basin in Masvingo two months ago have appealed to government to urgently allocate them an alternative piece of land to construct their homes, saying their continued stay under crammed transit camp conditions had stifled their conjugal rights.

About 3 400 families have been living in tents at Chingwizi and Nuanetsi Ranch in the Lowveld since January after their homes were swept away by the flooding Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam. Government has not yet identified a suitable site to resettle the families who are now surviving on handouts mainly from the donor community.

Each family has been allocated a single tent, regardless of the number of children.

“We are no longer making love as we share the tent with children,” said one of the affected couples, Tapiwa Maheya in an interview with NewsDay yesterday.

“We have approached the district administrator and Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and both said they were still sourcing for more tents as the few available ones have been reserved for families that are coming in.”

Mwenezi District Adminstrator Stanley Chamisa confirmed that the families had additional tents.

“They have raised such concerns, but we are still focusing on new arrivals. After all, this is a temporary arrangement,” Chamisa said.

The families also raised concern over lack of toilet facilities, safe drinking water and clinics.

Another villager, Chamakavinga Masiiwa said: “I dont know when I last met my husband. They are forcing us to forgo conjugal rights, but it’s tough. We can’t do it when we are packed in one room. The tents are also too close to each other.”

The families were displaced after the dam, touted as the country’s largest water body on completion, cracked its wall due to incessant rains.