TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights says the government should speed up the formulation of the compensation and relocation framework of villagers in Binga who will be relocated to pave way for the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.
About 2000 villagers in Lubimbi, Binga District, Matabeleland North will be evicted to pave way for the Gwayi Shangani Dam.
Matabeleland Institute For Human Rights coordinator Khumbulani Maphosa said the displacement of people should be done after the formulation of a framework.
“As Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights, our cry and our plea to the government, especially the high level inter-ministerial that is happening on Gwayi Shangani Dam is that they should speedily formulate the conversation and relocations framework as is stipulated by section 66 of the Zimbabwe national human settlement policy,” he said.
He said the policy says no displacement of people by a development project should happen before the formulation of it.
“It is therefore our call and our hope that the inter-ministerial, will come up with the strong guiding principles and guidelines for the formulation of this framework,” Maphosa said.
“And also the issues of resourcing consultation and also publicity of the framework. It is also our hope that they will give us a timeline and a clear roadmap for the formulation of this policy. Because this as the government of Zimbabwe, where they are duty bound by their own policies to implement their policies.”
Under the National Development Strategy 1, the government is accelerating construction of dams with the inspection programme for all major dams in the country to assess risks to public safety, extent of water losses and siltation being strengthened.
Upon completion, Gwayi-Shangani Dam is set to the third largest interior water body in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi.
The dam project is a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project touted as the solution to the perennial water problems of Bulawayo and the Matabeleland region.
A 245km pipeline will be constructed to connect the water body to Bulawayo and this phase is expected to be complete by 2022. Government has since allocated ZWL$535m towards commencement of the pipeline
Treasury has prioritised funding for the project with an allocation of ZWL$4.5bn to ensure speedy implementation.
Bulawayo residents say the government should speed up the process of the Gwayi Shangani Dam construction in order to help address the prevailing water challenges in the city .
The Bulawayo City Council introduced a citywide 24-hour water shedding programme on Monday last week.