No developments on Lubimbi villagers relocation site: Moyo

Minister Richard Moyo

MATABELELAND North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo has disclosed that no developments have been made at a site where Lubimbi villagers in Binga, Matabeleland will be relocated.

About 502 families of Lubimbi will be relocated to pave way for the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.

The dam construction includes a 245-kilometre-long water pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo, a development that will see hundreds of families along the course of the pipeline being relocated.

Last year, government said a new site had been identified where the villagers would be relocated, but Moyo told Southern Eye yesterday that no infrastructure development had taken place at the site.

“Nothing has been done on the site, hence there is no date as to when we will move them. The government has not compensated them and besides it is still raining so there is no way they will be moved now,” Moyo said.

In June last year, Moyo said more than US$2 million was needed for the relocation exercise as well as compensation for the affected villagers.

This is not the first time that Lubimbi villagers are being relocated to pave the way for a government project.

They were initially relocated from the Madilo area between Shangani and Kana rivers in 1945 to create space for a Cold Storage Company project.

In a passionate appeal on September 12 last year, Lubimbi villagers expressed worry over governments’ silence on their relocation and compensation.

In a position paper, the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) said the planned relocations are inhumane and cause disruption of social, cultural and religious values and systems of Binga villagers among other human rights violations.

MIHR urged government to fully adopt and adhere to the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement.

“The relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees should be mandated to visit the affected communities before and after relocations to ensure that appropriate policy and action measures are being taken to alleviate gross human rights violations,” the rights group said.

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