NewsDay Editorial: Don’t fiddle over Kariba Dam wall crisis

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It’s unimaginable the scale of destruction the collapse of the Kariba Dam wall will leave in its wake. The cataclysm will sweep away the lives of 3,5 million people in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

NewsDay Editorial

Lake Kariba is Africa’s biggest inland water reservoir stretching over 280km; all that water is held in place by a dam wall which has for some time now been reported to have developed “serious structural weaknesses” requiring to be rectified within the next three years or else . . .

Yet, Zimbabwe is attempting to downplay the gravity of the situation while its counterpart Zambia acknowledges the gravity of the situation.

Zambia’s push to raise the required funds to repair the damaged areas to save water and the millions of people living downstream in the Zambezi River Basin should be commended.
Zambian Finance Ministry permanent secretary Felix Nkulukusa, who is also chairperson of an intergovernmental committee responsible for mobilising funds to repair the dam wall, said Zambia and Zimbabwe needed $250 million to avert this major humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

This is no small matter. It requires the two countries to pool their resources together and remedy the situation.

So, Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere should avoid playing politics in the middle of such a potentially calamitous situation by moderating the problems at the Kariba Dam wall.

In fact the snail’s pace Zimbabwe has moved in the face of the Tokwe-Mukorsi and Tsholotsho floods humanitarian crises is cause for concern. Its non-committal stance has rendered over 60 000 people homeless in the face of the torrential rains. This is a sad development, and we urge Kasukuwere to lead the way.

The safety of the 55-year-old dam has been called into question a few times. It is acknowledged that most recently at a meeting of dam operators in July 2012, engineers from the Zambezi River Authority disclosed that the plunge pool below Kariba Dam has deepened beyond expectation — it has now eroded to a depth of more than 81 metres into the rock substrate.

This is the area where the water is released after going through the dam’s spillways. The main concern is, however, not the depth of the plunge pool, but that it has been eroding towards the dam wall, with the likely possibility of undercutting the foundation of the 128-metre-high wall.

This, therefore, is of great concern, as an unstable foundation can lead to dam failure, a potentially catastrophic event for the hundreds of thousands of people living downstream of Kariba Dam.

The deterioration of the Kariba Dam wall could be a classic example of what happens when infrastructure is not being maintained. It is also important to note that the effects of the Kariba Dam wall failure will likely cause a tsunami beyond the African waters, and this is a potentially global threat which should not be taken lightly. It also calls for a global appeal for help if Zimbabwe and Zambia lack the resources to repair the damage.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Mamhepo edu ngaaende dai tainzwawo tachema isu vana vevaporofita ana baba wedu wakachema makarekare pakanyorwa bhuku mariro ajeremiah nhasi mukaita zvekutamba mapepa achanyora misodzi yevana VaMakandiwa chiporofita chazadziswa dai vainzwawo

  2. What do you expect from a govt led by a 90 year old chief Selous scout and genocide expert? This Kasukuwere is a replica of his master. This govt has nothing to do with us. Zambia will eventually do the repairs without any input from us. We’re a shame, a typical example of a failed state. If by any chance this goon govt raises any funds, the money will be stolen along the way. The best Kasukuwere can think of is to mount a very big net so that he catches all marine creatures when they’re being swept down stream on that D-day.

  3. Mr Editor thank you for bringing this up again.rambai muchiitaura nyaya iyi kusvikira paitwa something.3.5 million haisi yekutamba nayo iyi veduwe.and i personally think its not a matter of wanting to save money but its just that the relevant people to handle this matter they dont care or seem not to understand the gravity of the situation or suffering from willful blindnes.prophesied or not its irelavent at this time we need solutions to the problem @cashbaron i agree with you if no action taken misodzi tichaibuda chete coz 3.5 million

  4. Facts are tht the story tht Newsday recycled frm Zambia is more thn two years old,meaning tht the 3 yrs forecasted r nw past. There cld be more reasons fo Zambia wntng the wall ‘repaired’ incldng graft.

    • You are a silly twit! Even if the story is more than two years old, the matter is one that demands urgent action and Zambia may be recyling it because its counterpart, Zimbabwe, as always, is lackadaisical in the way it approaches serious issues, the Essar saga being just one other example. I hope we won’t start blaming sanctions for the wall crisis. By the way, this dam was built by people with long range planning. It would still not have been built yet if it did not exist in 1980 – I shall not elaborate on our politicians’ ineptitude – look at where we are in terms of inadequate power and the incessant load shading.

  5. Why is Shingi (aka Emmanuel) Makandiwa being mentioned in this Kariba dam issue? He just told his buttlickers what he had read. Besides he’s not a prophet but a magician, the habrakatabra type.

  6. Kikiki @ Mac i like your view as well with Zambia being in Africa anything is posible with africans .no i meant anything bad is posible with africans.but apa i think its a genuine concern hayo, dam ragara iri and knowing kuti infrastructure needs mantainance its no secret if not mantained look at the nature of our roads in zimbabwe.

  7. @Mac while the story may be more than 2 years old (in Zambia) by now it is instructive to announce it onceagain. There is a potential catastrophe here that simply cannot be ignored regardless of the suspected motives of Zambian authorities. In a situation like this it is perhaps the least that the concerned minister should respond with hard facts concerning the situation currently and what is planned to remedy/avert the potential disaster.

    Hatshi madoda ayisiyo ndaba yokudlala ngayo le!

  8. This wall was prophesied naProphet Makandiwa some two years back wachiti its complaining that Im old……TAKE NOTE PPLE OF ZIM….

  9. They need to send the cash for dam repairs to ZANU-PF so they can make good use of the money. There is no need to think or worry that the money will not be used appropriately as the Ministers are trustworthy and will do the right thing. Please send them the bags of cash so Zimbabwe can help with the repairs.

  10. i suspect Chinese are pushing behind closed doors to get the tender. I just hope and pray they were not part of the engineers to predict the looming disaster

  11. But guys lets be serious.How can you expect Mugabe to be worried about this impending Kariba disaster yet he has not even bothered to visit the Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims?He has the guts to evict fellow human beings to accommodate wild animals.He had the guts to neglect Mbuya Rekai Tangwena but she is the one who hepled him claim the Presidency in Mozambique.How many surviving spouses of deceased national heroes are suffering today because of his neglect?VekuKariba pachenyu apo.Onai yekutamba.I think the real president of this country was Ian Smith.At least we had jobs&food on the table.Mwari torai munhu.

  12. The Nyaminyami, the River God is angry, the bodies of ppl who were murdered in cold blood and entombed in concrete coffins, dropped off at night from a helicopter are making the giant repitile restless. The macabre is here and the Grim Reaper’s scythe is sharpened. Be warned!

  13. This could be the biggest surfing event of the century? No pipeline or tube, lots of white water and plenty of distance. Must be filmed from a chopper. Disfunctional government ministers could lead the way. Hahaha. Television income would be huge just like the rush. Bring it on! – problem; trying to coordinate the event will be impossible because the idiots in power couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. Damn – the income might help to stabilise the economy?

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  15. A big lesson has already been learnt with the Tokwe-Mukorsi floods and the same mistake need not be repeated. Please take action now and not after disaster has struck. On top of all the loss of life downstream, the country will lose a lot of revenue as there will be no more tourism or fishing to talk about in Kariba and Mana Pools, and it will cost tens-fold more to re -construct the dam wall than to repair the damages now.

  16. This is the time for all Zimbabweans to unite and focus on this potential catastrophe and avert it by all possible means or the costs of the damage will to be too great to imagine. It will condemn us too perpetual darkness, disindustrialisation,and a debt our children will curse us for bestowing it to them. to make matters worse, what we are trying to save for our children may be taken away from them due to the resultant debts accruing as reconstruction costs inter-alia. We even call upon those who constructed the dam wall to come forth and render help to preserve their image as failure to that, history will judge them as having constructed a dam-wall that lasted less than have a century and whose demise caused unparalleled destruction of infrastructure in a number of countries. Our gvt should act now to mend relations with other nations which could render help. This we do appeal. We know we are a proud people,but there are certain things which calls for pragmatism.

  17. SORRY ZIMBABWEANS THE PEOPLE WE EXPECT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE KARIBA ISSUE JUST DO NOT COMPREHEND THE GRAVITY.IF U WANT ZPF TO DO SOMETHING JUST TELL THAT THERE ARE DIAMONDS AT KARIBA THEY WILL WAKEUP FROM THEIR DEEP SLUMBER.IF THAT WALL COLLAPSES ZIMBABWE COULD LOSE MORE THAN HALF OF ITS ELECTRICITY GENERATION.MURIKUTI MASHAYA MAGETSI MUCHANYATSO ASHAYA.KANA MARI IRI KUNETSA LETS CUT THE DEFENSE BUDGET BY ONE SEVENTH,BINGO PROBLEM SOLVED.MARI TINAYO BUT THERE IS NO WILL ON THE PART OF OUR RULERS 2DO SOMETHING.

  18. Were it not for colonialism we would not be having this dam. That’s a fact. And some people talk of the “yoke of colonialism”. By far and way the best thing that happened to Africa is colonialism. I don’t care what anyone says – Colonialism was the biggest force-multiplier there will ever be. We have electricity because of colonialism. Would our forefathers have been able to build such a structure? Never in a month of Sundays.
    It’s now up to the Western mugs to bale us out and give us $250 million to repair the dam they built for us. Umbilical cord. Non-technical morons will ask why would we ask for $250 million from the west when we have civil engineers in the land.
    I expect the usual idiotic replies from the usual moron(s).

    • @ Musona At times you command an occasional good point, a factual observation but u loose it when yous rave and rent about phantoms, morons and strampets.

  19. According to the Engineers who constructed that Dam Wall ,they said such a structure will last about 100years,so why have structural problems now?the Gvts of ZIM and Zambia must just take a step further to recall the Italian Company that constructed the dam to come and correct the problem now now.Hazvina basa kuti its 55years ago when they did it bcoz they said it will last 100years.

  20. govt can afford to hire bulldozers to demolish so called illegal structures but can not afford to repair Kariba Dam

  21. Who is the insuarer of this phenomenon Nicoz? Old Mutual? Zimnat or Kasukuwere and the Land Reform Crew Brokers?

  22. The fault of no maintenance on Kariba dam lies squarely with the Mugabi regime. There is no excuse and history will further vilify this moron of a murdering dictator and his cohorts. God help all those folk who will die if the wall does collapse and the rest who will suffer because the region will no longer have any electrical power, perhaps for decades resulting in a complete banafication of the entire region.

  23. This 90 year old Robber Mugabe does afford to pay a fifth of this ammount but will never do so.Death to all,black and and white downpressers.

  24. imagine no more electricity nationallz (zimbabwe, zambia,mozambique). country io total darkness. no mortuaries for the estimated 3.5 million. factories, hospitals, elevators, traffic lights, radio and tv stations, telephones, stoves, fridges, petrol stations, grinding mills etc.etc ALL BEING DISFUNCTIONAL albeit indefinately. At least in Zimbabwe we are lucky because we are already getting mini rehersals through load shading.

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