Govt moves to relocate Gwayi-Shangani villagers

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo

MATABELELAND North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo says government has deployed teams to plan for the relocation of Lubimbi villagers in Binga whose homesteads are in the Gwayi-Shangani dam catchment area.

Moyo told NewsDay that construction work had already commenced at the site where the villagers would be relocated.

“There is something going on at the site,” Moyo said in an interview.

“Government has managed to deploy a team of workers to start with the drawing of plans for the houses for the villagers. I am not sure how much has been released, but funds have been disbursed for the construction of houses, schools, supermarkets and clinics for the Lubimbi villagers.”

He said the plan is to ensure that the housing project is finished before the end of the year.

“We will be commissioning the Gwayi-Shangani dam before the end of year.

“So there is need for us to make sure that relocation is done before the end of the year. It needs to be done as soon as possible,” he added.

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.

About 502 Lubimbi families will be relocated from the Gwayi-Shangani Dam catchment area.

The dam project includes a 245km long water pipeline to Bulawayo, a development which will result in hundreds of families along the course of the pipeline also being relocated.

This is not the first time 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.

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