PRESSURE is piling on government to ensure that villagers being displaced by the construction of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam in Masvingo get compensation and rehabilitation.
BY OUR STAFF
Affected villagers last year formed the Tokwe-Mukosi People’s Rehabilitation and Resettlement Trust (TMPRRT) to co-ordinate the issue of compensation of the 3 000 people that are set to be displaced.
TMPRRT founder, Tasara Wam-ambo said the trust wanted to facilitate a smooth relocation to ensure the villagers are not disadvantaged.
“We do not want people to expe-rience what happened with the construction of Kariba Dam, where villagers were stranded for over a year, and could not farm,” said Wamambo.
“Our wish is for the villagers to lead normal lives as soon as possible and to get some form of compensation from the relocation.”
It is estimated that the construction of Kariba dam forced the resettlement of over 50 000 Tonga people living along the Zambezi in both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Wamambo said the trust held several meetings with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) regarding the issue of water rights, to ensure that locals would also benefit from the dam.
“We have also discussed with local telecommunication companies to assist community members in development projects,” he said.
The trust was formed in October last year to represent families affected by the construction of the dam and to safeguard the community’s value and resources.
“Life should not be hard for these gallant people who have sacrificed their land, developments, relationships and culture,” said Wamambo.
“Their momentous sacrifice allows for the development of the dam and the nation. Thus the people need to be treated in the best regard. By seeking to re-establish them into the new community, the people will not be disadvantaged.”
Wamambo said the displaced villagers would need compensation and rehabilitation.
“Compensation on its own is not an end to people’s problems. The people of Tokwe-Mukosi need rehabilitation and since they are giving up their land to a massive economic development, payment of a lump sum is not enough,” said Wamambo.
“Where and how they will live before their structures are in place, comes to mind? Money is good, but in the wrong hands, it will not do much. If we say a house for a house, a community for a community, relationship for a relationship and a culture for a culture; money cannot provide all this.”