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Villagers in suspense over Gwayi Shangani Dam project

by Staff reporter
10 Jan 2022 at 06:00hrs | Views
THE planned displacement of around 2 000 Lubimbi villagers in Binga to pave way for the construction of the Gwayi Shangani Dam has left the villagers in suspense, amid indications that government had not budgeted for the relocation exercise.

The affected villagers recently identified Nakanono as their preferred relocation site. The land is between Shangani River and the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Highway.

Binga resident Tongai Ncube told Southern Eye that as their area was being prepared for dam construction, they were advised to stop farming activities.

"The government recently sent assessment teams to the area where we are set to be relocated. They were done with their assessments by November last year. The community was then advised to identify their preferred relocation site and this has been done.

"We now await confirmation from the government.

Relocation has been moved forward. No specific date and timeframe has been given. We were told not to till our land this farming season."

Ncube said villagers were not happy that the 2022 national budget did not include compensation for those set to be removed from their ancestral land.

"We were also looking forward to the national budget allocating funds for compensation of the villagers to be relocated but there was nothing.

"We expect the government to confirm the location site where construction of roads and other infrastructure like schools, dip tanks, and clinics will commence in earnest," Ncube said.

Lubimbi councillor Chrispen Mnkuli said initially the villagers were told to move out of the area by end of last month.

"We then engaged the government on the issue, and identified our preferred relocation site, but the government did not make its position clear," Mnkuli said.

Binga recently appointed Land Kabome as its district development co-ordinator. Kabome did not respond to calls from Southern Eye yesterday.

Government recently carried out an assessment on the value of the properties likely to be affected by the expansion of Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Lubimbi with a view to compensate the victims.

Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction has been mired in controversy as those due for relocation were not consulted about the issue.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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