MWENEZI – Villagers who live close to Manyuchi Dam have complained that the water body remains underutilised because it is a convenient vote-buying tool that politicians conveniently exploit during election time.
Villagers point to the long-talked-about Pikinini-Jawanda Irrigation Project which was pegged in the 1990s but remains a pie in the sky.
If implemented, the irrigation project would result in 500 hectares of land being put under irrigation, and would help to fight extreme poverty among people living under Chief Mawarire and Chief Murove.
Villagers told TellZim News the dam was more of a white elephant which does little to support livelihoods outside of the illegal fishing practices happening there.
“We are deriving no benefit from this dam which is the biggest in Mwenezi district. Village gardens are not allowed close to the dam yet authorities cannot support our quest for a proper irrigation project,” complained one villager.
She complained that the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) once came and destroyed the gardens that villagers had built for themselves.
Another villager said she witnessed many ground-breaking ceremonies for the project but nothing materialised even though many politicians of different calibres visited the area and made many grand promises.
Ward 4 Councillor Passmore Madzudzu shared the villager’s worries but expressed optimism that the project will eventually see the light of day.
“Villagers have every reason to be disappointed because they can see an opportunity to improve their living standards yet they are not being given the necessary support. The area has vast potential to support successful irrigation agriculture because the water is there. I am hopeful a way out of this situation will soon be found,” said Madzudzu.
Addressing Zanu PF supporters at victory celebrations held at Rutenga growth point recently, the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Ezra Chadzamira acknowledged that Manyuchi Dam was one of the many underutilised resources in the district.