...Chadzamira faces litmus test
…compensation railroaded to pacify flood victims
MASVINGO - Since the Tokwe Mukosi flood disaster which left thousands of people homeless in February 2014, President Robert Mugabe has never set foot in the area and will tomorrow pay his maiden visit to the disgruntled victims, a development likely to make it hard for newly-elected Zanu PF provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira to mobilise for the event.
The President will be in Masvingo on a two-day visit which starts today with a ground breaking ceremony for the dualisation of the Chirundu - Beitbridge Road at Chaka business centre before he travels south to officially commission Tokwe Mukosi Dam.
In 2014, he declared the floods a national disaster but for a very long time, the people of Chingwizi have been hoping to see him face-to-face for some kind of reassurance on the future.
The President has visited Masvingo province on numerous occasions after the floods but had never put Chingwizi camp, the home for many of the victims, on his itinerary.
The flood victims were promised compensation for their forced relocation but few did receive some compensation and there are reports that the provincial executive led by Chadzamira is worried sick that the flood victims would embarrass President Mugabe by boycotting his address.
The executive is reportedly on its toes, desperately trying to find money to pay whatever is still owed to the victims as a firefighting measure.
In a Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting on Sunday at the provincial showgrounds, it was reported that about US$1.5 million had been raised for the compensation while another US$1.5 million will be available by the end of the week.
The available money, it was said, would be given to the victims before President Mugabe's visit.
"There is a big challenge in Chingwizi. There are some people who are yet to get their compensation money but we are happy there has been some progress in sourcing the funds which will be given out this week.
"The remaining victims will be given money as it becomes available. We want to make a good impression when the President comes," said Chadzamira.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Shuvai Mahofa also said the relocation of the flood victims to A1 pieces of land was at an advanced stage but slammed the lands ministry for allegedly failing to cooperate.
"Other government departments have been cooperating with us except the ministry of lands who are dragging their feet saying they need travel and subsistence allowances. It should not be about money but ensuring that the people of Chingwizi can be provided for with proper land for settlement," said Mahofa.
Mwenezi East Member of Parliament Joosbi Omar pushed for expeditious conclusion of all outstanding compensation cases, saying the issue was one of his campaign pledges when he was running for office last month.
"What the people of Chingwizi really want right now is their compensation money. I promised them they would get the money once I get elected and they are expecting that," said Omar.politics, topnews