Tokwe-Mukosi Flooding Disaster: A Big Scandal Downplayed

By Golden Maunganidze

President Robert Mugabe last week declared state of national disaster in  the Tokwe -Mukosi reservoir catchment basin as floods continue to wreck havoc in Chivi. Anyone who has witnessed villagers in Chivi playing cat and mouse games with crocodiles will definitely agree with the head of State that indeed Chivi has been struck by a disaster that attracts a national sympathy.

However, the painful part of the whole story is that it seems some people, mind you I mean very big people who are trusted with higher offices are seemingly dragging themselves in a hen and egg debate concerning situations that involve people’s lives.  Almost every newspaper has managed to write something about the floods affecting the people living near Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Chivi rural district.

Suddenly, it becomes a disaster with Red Cross, Zimbabwe National Army, Civil Protection Unit and various government departments flocking to the area trying to help desperate troubled villagers. I am informed the Provincial Administrator (PA) recently toured the area aboard Air force of Zimbabwe helicopter to assess the disaster.  Now it seems people just woke up to find Tokwe-Mukosi dam overflowing and yet this could have been prevented.

Just for those who might not know, it had almost become a winning strategy for aspiring MPs to promise villagers in the affected area that they would engage higher powers to make sure that they are given their compensation and get them settled elsewhere.

For almost two decades now, Tokwe-Mukosi has been under construction and yet not even half of the people were resettled by the government as we speak.

I don’t want to talk about members of Paliament who sometimes thrive on lies and defaming each other in order to get elected before dumping the constituency as they dine and wine with beautiful queens and concubines in Harare. I however, have some issues with the PA, that is if Masvingo province has one and predecessors. Enlighten me on where  this man or woman whom we call our PA  was when Tokwe Mukosi was being constructed while thousands were still living in the basin of the dam.

What was this PA’s priority all these years if he was not prioritising resettlement of the people living at the dam’s reservoir catchment basin. What was he administrating? Was his schedule too busy with probably banning or cautioning one or two errant NGOs throughout the years. Or maybe chieftainship wrangles in Masvingo were too many such that the PA could not find time to attend to the plight of thousands of villagers from Zunga, Shongamiti, Mashenjere, Shindi, Neruwanga, Chikosi among others who are now playing cat and mouse games with crocodiles? I mean seriously, in almost 20 years, the people should have been resettled elsewhere.

As I was talking to the former MP for the area Irvine Dzingirai to find out why he also probably lied to the people when he secured the parliamentary seat then, the former legislator exonerated himself.

“Look I am the only person who tried all tricks in the bag to push for the resettlement of these people but the support I got from the office of the PA was too little. I had to go to President Mugabe to ask for the

land of which we were given 89 000 hacters of land near Nuanetsi but the PA was constantly dragging feet. Even now as we speak it’s me who had to go to Vice President Joice Mujuru and informed her about the danger faced by villagers. I did that despite the fact that the PA was saying only a few homesteads were affected and the MP Utete was in Harare. Had it not been my conversation with VP Mujuru on February 3, we could be narrating an even more painful story by now,” said Dzingirai.

Whether his story is true or not but at least he should be applauded for the effort he put in trying to assist villagers affected. My fear here ladies and gentleman is that we might have people who think that they have the capacity to know what God is planning.

Even if we have the meteorological department to assist us here and there, we should always accept that we cannot know God’s plans. Maybe those who know the PA and probably the concerned district’s DA can assist me – Are they like the modern miracle mongering prophets? Probably if they look like the Makandiwas or the Magayas and Chibwe they might argue that they had revelations of the rainfall patterns.

As I see it , the Tokwe-Mukosi disaster is a big scandal being downplayed! Prove me wrong here, I have a feeling that someone slept on duty – kuvata hope chaiko and because of that and  when the rains are over, someone should summon the PA and seek answers. By the way PA falls under which ministry? Does the minister concerned has a clean record of calling and reprimanding errant subordinates? Your guess is as bad as mine. This is not a laughing matter because some people have spent years not knowing where they will finally settle. They were in panic mood for over a decade awaiting their fate. I am told some villagers already got their compensation allowances but they are yet to be informed about their final destination. Some have already squandered the money at Ngundu while others were robbed at gun point. The situation is bad.

As I see it, resettling villagers should have started first before construction of the dam! Lets dig deeper and look closely. This disaster could have been prevented!

Golden Maunganidze,the writer is a journalist and a media trainer. He writes in his own capacity and expresses his own opinion. You can send feedback or comments to goldenmaunganidze37@gmail.com , SMS/What’s App: +263 735030220

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