George Maponga in Masvingo
The second relocation of over 2 500 Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims from the one-hectare plots at the Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi to habitable areas, is hanging in the balance as Government has not yet availed funding to peg new permanent plots.
This comes as the flood victims are battling a severe food shortage, as they have struggled to carry out meaningful agricultural activities since their relocation from Chingwizi Camp because of extremely arid conditions and insufficient arable land at Nuanetsi.
A Cabinet committee led by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere last October ordered the immediate relocation of the flood victims to bigger plots after discovering that the area was unsuitable for human habitation.
The Tokwe-Mukosi relocation taskforce led by Masvingo provincial affairs minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa had identified seven farms in Chiredzi, Mwenezi and Masvingo districts to permanently relocate the families.
Some of the identified farms were Mutirikwe Section of Nuanetsi Ranch, Masangula, Umfuli, Lundi, Javarirai and Magudu Ranch.
The flood victims are still awaiting relocation to the new plots almost four months after Minister Kasukuwere ordered the move.
Masvingo provincial administrator Mr Felix Chikovo yesterday cited lack of funding for the slow relocation of the families to the designated permanent sites. He said plots intended for resettling the families had not yet been pegged because of lack of funds.
“There is nothing much that has happened to move the families at Chingwizi to bigger permanent plots because the problem is lack of funding to peg their plots,’’ said Mr Chikovo.
“There are seven farms that were identified to resettle the flood victims, but those areas must be pegged first so that each family gets a 20-hectare plot for building a permanent homestead, agricultural activities and grazing pastures. We are not sure when the relocation will take place.’’
Besides extreme aridity at Nuanetsi which makes human habitation difficult, the flood victims want to be moved to pave way for a $400 million ethanol plant planned by the Zimbabwe Bio-Energy, which is a joint venture between the Development Trust of Zimbabwe and a group of private investors fronted by businessman Mr Billy Rautenbach.