Roadwin Chirara recently in Kariba
MASHONALAND West governor and resident minister, Nelson Samkange, says after the land reform programme the government was now planning to take over docking harbours in Kari
He said the current situation in Kariba where white-owned private firms owned the main docking harbours was unacceptable as the local community had the “right to operate and benefit from them”.
“We have taken farms from the whites and given them to the locals and really why should we not take the harbours?” Samkange said.
Samkange revealed this at the World Tourism Day celebration in Kariba.
He said the docking harbours should benefit Kariba residents.
“I am also speaking as a Zanu PF member, if we want to take them (harbours) we will take them, there is nothing that can stop us from doing so,” said Samkange.
Kariba is currently serviced by small docking harbours dotted around the lake with the main ones being Marineland, which is privately-owned.
Tourism operators in Kariba viewed Samkange as trying to incite people to take over their harbours in the same way they did during the land reform.
Experts, however, warn that this would be the death knell for the tourism sector, which is already crumbling because of the country risk, which has scared away tourists.
Kariba’s tourism sector is currently at its lowest ebb with some hotels now planning to close down because of low business in the resort town, which in good times would have been busy during this summer.
The critical situation in the town has seen Zimsun Leisure opting to completely close down its Lake View Hotel for renovations after the company had been operating two establishments in the town including Caribbea Bay Hotel.
Apart from the slump in tourism, the town’s other main source of income, the fishing industry has also been hard hit by the current fuel shortages.
Some companies in the business are contemplating scaling down operations or closing shop completely.
Samkange’s comments come barely three weeks after State security minister Didymus Mutasa described white commercial farmers as “dirt” resulting in a new wave of farm invasions in Manicaland province.
The situation has seen attacks on commercial farmers in Chipinge and Nyazura despite calls by the government to cease any further farm invasion.
There are now fears that Samkange’s statement could trigger the invasion of harbours in Kariba, a move that would further damage Zimbabwe’s tattered reputation as a tourism destination.