The Zimbabwe Sentinel-Media Centre

Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE


One year after the Tokwe-Mukosi disaster: Victims still to be compensated.  

By Nyasha N Mukapiko


In a report named, “Homeless, Landless and Destitute: The plight of Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims”, Human Rights Watch (HRW)  highlighted challenges faced by the 20 000 flood victims who were displaced in February last year after flooding of the Tokwe-Mukosi dam.

At a news briefing yesterday, Human Rights Watch appealed to the Zimbabwean government to address obstacles currently faced by the flood victims camped at the Chingwizi transit camp.

Human rights watch accused the Zimbabwean government for using force to relocate the flood victims saying that it was infringement of their human rights.

“According to experts the flooding was avoidable but the government resorted to using force after the victims had refused to be relocated without full compensation. We therefore urge the Zimbabwean government to look into the matter”, HRW Southern Africa senior researcher Dewa Mavhinga said.

Mavhinga went on to blame the government for using violence, harassment and restricting of humanitarian aid to coerce the victims to be resettled on tiny plots which are inadequate for the displaced families.

The victims who testified against the government expressed total disappointment over the leadership of President Robert Mugabe. Kundiso Terera said at first she was optimistic when the construction process of the dam resumed hoping that it was going to bring development to their community.

“We are now hopeless over the future as we don’t even know what awaits us tomorrow. At first the government had promised us 17 hectares of land, and later they turned reengaged on the promise and settled us on four hectares. This was reduced further to 1 hectare.”

This shows the government’s insincerity in ensuring that ordinary Zimbabweans get adequate land to fend for themselves.

“Right now we are still waiting for the rains to come; we have no food or safe drinking water. The borehole water is salty and our children are out of school not because there are no schools but due to hunger”, Terera added.

Another Tokwe-Mukosi flood victim also expressed dissatisfaction over the government, querying why this was happening to them.

In a written statement by the HRW, Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, was quoted saying the families where happy by the government efforts on resettling them.

Admire Mashenjere  commented opposing the Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister’s saying they were not happy at all on what the government was planning.

“I used to be a headman before I was relocated but right now I’m living under another headman. They are forcing us to venture into sugarcane farming which we have no interest in, we don’t even know if we are allowed to develop where we are resettled, no one communicates to us”, Admire Mashenjere said.

HRW concluded by appealing to the donor community for aid in form of food, shelter, water and other basic supplies to help the displaced families.




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Chief Editor: Earnest Mudzengi Content Editor: Willie Gwatimba