Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora says thousands of Tokwe-Mukosi dam flood survivors who want to move out of Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi where they were relocated two years ago will not be compensated again.
By Tatenda Chitagu
The villagers, numbering about 18 000, have been living at the ranch for the past two years, after some were evacuated while others were forcibly ejected from the dam catchment area following the flooding.
The area falls under natural farming region five and is not suitable for human habitation and agriculture, while water shortages are an everyday thing, forcing other villagers allocated four-hectare plots each there to opt out to better areas.
In an interview after a closed door meeting with Zanu PF members, traditional chiefs, army, police and intelligence bosses as well as Provincial Affairs minister, Shuvai Mahofa over the “unfair” allocation of sugarcane plots, Mombeshora said those willing to move out were doing so at their own volition.
“There are some villagers who said they want to move away and want bigger plots. It is their choice as we are not forcing them to move away,” he said.
“If you make your choice of moving away, why would government compensate you? They have been compensated for being displaced from the Tokwe-Mukosi dam catchment area.
“As you know, all infrastructure has been put in place here — water, clinic, schools and 32 boreholes, all that is meant to benefit farmers here,” he said.
Asked on where they were going, Mombeshora was in sixes and sevens.
“We are looking for land and there are some pieces of land identified for those who want to move away and be resettled somewhere.
“I do not know where exactly, there are several places they can go. You can talk to the provincial executive, they know. They have identified several places for those who want to move,” he said.
Mombeshora said his ministry did not have money to pay teams that would peg the new plots.
He said if some villagers moved away, it would see those remaining getting more land.
“When they move away, it means more land and increased size of plots for those who want to remain. We will give those remaining six hectares each,” Mombeshora said.