Govt starts relocations for 3 000 families

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The government has started relocating 3 000 families affected by the construction of the country’s biggest inland dam, Tokwe Mukorsi. 259 families will be moved to Mwenezi soon, Masvingo provincial administrator Felix Chikovo has said.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Chikovo said the first families will be moved to Masangula in Mwenezi.

“Work in progress at the dam affects 259 families who must move to alternative land. As such, we have identified Masangula ranch in Mwenezi, which is downstream of the dam so they will benefit from irrigation,” Chikovo said.

“The Ministry of Lands is currently conducting the pegging of the land while we are assessing villagers’ properties for compensation.

“We are also evaluating their crop because we should have resettled them before the farming season.

“Only last week, we excavated graves of their relatives.”

He, however, could not indicate when families would be moved.

Chikovo said the government was in the process of identifying more land for the remaining families.

“We are in the process of identifying more land for the affected villagers. Preference would be given to downstream space so they will benefit from the dam directly,” he said.

The site for the dam had been turned into a battlefield with villagers resisting eviction until the government compensated them.