Mahofa, Chingwizi villagers clash

George Maponga in Masvingo
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa is on a collision course with nearly 3 000 Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims at Nuanetsi Ranch who have put conditions for their second relocation.

Sen Mahofa this week said Government had identified seven farms in Mwenezi district where the villagers would be relocated starting next week.

The villagers complained about arid conditions at the Nuanetsi which also lacks grazing land for their livestock.

Sen Mahofa said the second relocation would begin once funds were made available.

However, the villagers want to be paid compensation for lost property before they are relocated again.

Government owes the families $7 million. They are also demanding that Government sets up infrastructure like schools and clinics before moving them.

Villagers who spoke to The Herald said they were not happy with the lives they had been leading since their relocation from the Tokwe-Mukosi basin.

They suspected they were being relocated from their current one-hectare plots to make way for a $400 million ethanol plant to be built by the Zimbabwe Bio Energy (ZBE).

ZBE is linked to businessman Mr Billy Rautenbach.

ZBE is one of the private companies that have undertaken to assist in the relocation of the villagers from their current plots and also promised to install running water at their new homes.

“We are not happy with the treatment that we have been receiving from the time that Government moved us here. Now we are being told that we will be relocated again. How do we build new houses when we have already expended the little resources we had on our current homes?’’ said one of the flood victims who refused to be named.

“We will voluntarily leave our plots if they pay us compensation and also build social amenities in the areas where they intend to resettle us. What boggles the mind is why we were moved here in the first place when the authorities knew that this area was not our permanent home.

“We suspect that we are being moved because this area is close to the confluence of Runde and Mutirikwe Rivers that will supply water to the ethanol plant,’’ said another flood victim.

The families said they wanted to be compensated so that they could individually look for alternative land to restart their lives.