TEN Zanu PF ministers yesterday left Chingwizi Camp in Naunetsi with tails between their legs after being humiliated by Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims who booed and heckled them, forcing them to leave the camp prematurely.
BY TATENDA CHITAGU
The villagers — who defied the heavy police presence meant to contain them — also refused to chant Zanu PF slogans as well as to listen to them.
The ministers are Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo, Information minister Jonathan Moyo, Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora, Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
The ministers had visited the camp to convince the villagers to move out of the camp to one-hectare plots they are being allocated.
The flood victims however refused to move, demanding compensation from government first as well as four hectares of land for each family.
Government fears an outbreak of diseases due to overcrowding and unhygienic conditions as well as water shortages.
Mombeshora was the first to receive the villagers’ wrath when he said the victims would be allocated one hectare per family.
He was forced to cut short his speech and sat down after the villagers heckled him and drowned his voice.
Mavhaire tried to intervene and calm the villagers but he was also interjected by the villagers who said they wanted money first before they could be moved.
Chombo, who chairs the cabinet committee on Tokwe Mukosi was also booed and invited Bhasikiti to speak, but the villagers said they did not want him to address them.
Other ministers who were supposed to speak could not do so as Chombo was forced to end the meeting.
Spokesperson of the flood victims, Mike Mudyanembwa said villagers have suffered for too long with government always changing goalposts.
“We have survived here since February under such pathetic conditions,” said Mudyanembwa. “Kusiri kufa ndekupi? Government is now shifting goalposts on land where we are to be moved. We also demand food and our compensation.”
A lady who stood up from the crowd without being given authority to speak lambasted the government ministers for lying to them.
“Today we need nothing but the truth,” she declared. “You moved us from our original homes promising a better future but it has turned into hell. You made us malnourished. When will we get our money?”
Chinamasa said government was aware it owed the villagers money and would give it to them when it became available.
The villagers also sang in protest as the ministers left and blocked their vehicles. The officials were saved by police who moved away the angry crowd.
Efforts to get a comment from the ministers proved fruitless.
Chingwizi camp is home to over 3 000 households displaced by the February Tokwe-Mukosi floods.