MP takes council to task over floods

BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA

CHIREDZI West legislator Farai Musikavanhu has threatened to sue Chiredzi Town Council over that they destroyed property worth thousands of dollars in February, saying they were man-made and avoidable if proper urban planning and mitigatory measures had been put in place.

The Department of Civil Protection (DCP) findings show that flooding was caused by blocked and poor drainage systems and that most of the affected properties were built on either wetlands or water chains, thereby putting the blame squarely on the council’s town planning and engineering departments.

Musikavanhu, in a residents’ WhatsApp group, threatened to drag the council to court for negligence.

“Greetings again comrades. While Chiredzi appears to have been spared the wrath of Cyclone Idai, there are serious lessons to be learnt from the devastation that is being reported from Chimanimani and Chipinge.

“It is on this understanding that I would like to reaffirm my resolve to hold Chiredzi Town Council to account in respect of the findings arising from the floods that we experienced on February 13, 2019. I am in the process of compiling a legal position in this regard. Yes, natural disasters will come periodically, but we do have an obligation to take mitigatory measures, including good urban planning,” the MP posted.

Contacted for comment, Musikavanhu said: “If you were following Constituency Talk on ZTV, you would know where I am coming from.”

United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers’ Association secretary Bernard Dachi said the town planning and engineering departments needed a shake-up.

“We feel that the two departments need a complete overhaul because suing council is just going in circles and burdening the same ratepayers. In fact, that’s what we can call political showboating meant to achieve nothing, but just cheap politicking. It’s just like robbing a person with the left hand and giving back with the right hand.”

Chiredzi council chairperson Gibson Hwende said he believed the floods were a natural disaster and no one should shoulder the blame of their effects. He went further and said if there was any aggrieved party, his door was open for dialogue.

“I do respect personal rights, but we strongly believe this was a natural disaster and that is why DCP was activated to assist the victims. Personally, I think the best way whenever our communities are confronted with problems of such magnitude is that leaders should collectively find solutions through dialogue.

“Dialogue is the best tool of building our communities in this modern world. We are in the process of rebuilding our town and we need everyone, even as leaders should collectively contribute towards the reconstruction of our town.

“The legal route is another way, which I believe should be the last option provided the doors for dialogue are closed, because it has cost implications which should be met by the same council,” Hwende said.

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