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Tokwe-Mukorsi: Shame on you, govt

Opinion & Analysis
The blame for the Tokwe-Mukorsi disaster lies squarely on the shoulders of the government

The blame for the Tokwe-Mukorsi disaster lies squarely on the shoulders of the government.

NewsDay Editorial

The government knew that on completion, Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam would hold more than a billion cubic litres of water and it would be disastrous to have settlements precariously near such a huge water body.

The government was also warned of the weakness inherent in the structure of the unfinished dam wall that would get worse during the rainy season. It was also clear to the government that one of the most basic precautions before the construction of any dam is the relocation of human settlements to safe areas. All these factors were ignored by the government.

Absolutely nothing was done by our government that prioritises political bickering over humanitarian issues. The government was very much aware that the bulk of these settlements around Tokwe-Mukorsi were located in the flood basin of the dam. What this shows is that the government has no concern whatever with issues to do with humanitarian matters.

What is also clear is that the government is not concerned with disaster mitigation strategies that reduce or eliminate risks caused by natural disasters. It is ironical that one of the most common phenomena the government deals with in this country is flooding in low-lying areas. With such experience and a bit of hindsight, we should never have talked of the Tokwe-Mukorsi disaster at all. The government should be indicted for negligence. Even after the disaster struck, the government is failing to resettle the people because of lack of political will.

Don’t we have land in Zimbabwe? Of course, we have plenty of land lying idle. This was the opportunity for the government to show that it was serious in its desire to resettle needy people on good land.

But, alas, the government seems not to care at all. Someone needs to knock sense into our heartless government that we are talking about human lives. We are talking about families, about people who feel the pain of suffering.

We are talking about innocent people who did not request the government to build a huge dam in their area without disaster mitigation strategies.

Reports that Zanu PF officials want to take credit for the relatively little help the people are getting after the disaster only shows the extent to which the Zanu PF government is hard-hearted. It is a sick strategy really — having caused the disaster, the same Zanu PF people turn back and pretend to be Father Christmases for political expediency.

We say shame on them! Decisive action should be urgently taken before we lose lives at Tokwe-Mukorsi. The people have suffered enough. They have committed no offence to deserve such suffering.