VISUALLY-IMPAIRED Masvingo residents have pleaded with government to reserve a 10% quota of commercial land at the recently completed biggest inland reservoir in Zimbabwe, Tokwe-Mukosi Dam, arguing that they had been left out of most State-initiated economic empowerment programmes.
BY TATENDA CHITAGU
The dam is set to be commissioned by President Robert Mugabe this Friday, paving the way for fishing co-operatives, irrigation projects, lodges and hotels to be set up.
In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Association for the Visually Handicapped national chairperson Timothy Mudarikwa pleaded with government to allocate them a fair share of business opportunities accruing from the dam project.
“We have been left out in major government economic programmes. Now we hear Tokwe-Mukosi is complete and land is about to be dished out. What is in stake for us? We plead with government to reserve a 10% quota of Tokwe-Mukosi land for the visually impaired. That’s our passionate plea,” he said.
Mudarikwa said the land reform programme only benefited a few of their members, adding some of them were now being displaced due to expansion of Masvingo city.
“During the land reform programme, we presented our case and the few who were given small plots, which were farms near towns and cities, are now being told that they should not develop anything and will be moved to create room for urban expansion. This means we effectively got nothing and they are holding on to nothing,” he said.
Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri recently revealed that there were plans to clear an additional 41 000 hectares for sugar cane cultivation after the completion of the dam.
She said 26 000 hectares would be brought on board in the Lowveld, while another 15 000 would be for out-growers from Nuanetsi Ranch who were displaced during construction of the dam.