CHIREDZI- The Government plans to evict another 45 000 villagers in Chiredzi to pave way for an irrigation scheme fed by Tugwi-Mukosi Dam and a solar farm, The Mirror has learnt.
The major concern of villagers in the region has always been that they are moved out of their forefathers’ land without getting any benefits from the mega-projects. Thousands of people removed to pave way for Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Chivi are living in dire poverty as Government failed to compensate them. A total of 3 000 families were moved in 2014.
It never rains for the people of the Lowveld as a Lucerne grass project is set to see 12 000 families evicted.
Impeccable sources told The Mirror that fears of losing elections in Chiredzi have stalled the projects. The evictions of another 45 000 villagers were supposed to start in July last year, but the date was considered too close to the elections and the move was shelved, said the sources.
Details of the irrigation project and the solar farm are contained in minutes of February 4, 2022, which are in the hands of The Mirror. The report says that the projects will be carried out by eight investment companies that are not mentioned by name.
The projects are under the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ). DTZ is a hazy investment vehicle run by Zanu PF.
Some 80 000 hectares of land in Chiredzi North and West constituencies are affected by the projects and the land has already been subdivided among the eight companies, according to the minutes of the DTZ meeting held on February 4, 2022, at the Civic Centre in Masvingo and chaired by the then DTZ chairperson Ailes Baloyi.
According to the master plan, the greater part of the land to be irrigated is currently occupied by villagers in Gororo, Matanda maviri, Zvemombe, Uswaushava, Samba Ranch, Chingwizi, Masangula among other areas. The land has already been parceled out to eight unnamed investors.
Six of the investors will carry out farming activities on the land while the other two will embark on solar farming.
Baloyi confirmed the project but was quick to say he is no longer with DTZ and referred all the questions to DTZ General Manager Emmanuel Jaricha.
“Yes, I can confirm the project but I am no longer with DTZ. You can contact the general manager Jaricha,” said Baloyi.
Attempts to get a comment from Jaricha were fruitless as his mobile was not reachable.
Part of the minutes read: “Minister Daniel Garwe to assist in the construction of model houses for beneficiaries. Necessary reorganization of settlers within the 80 000 hectares. Bubi-Lupane business model to be followed. Eight (8) companies selected as investors–two (2) for solar farming.”
DTZ was formed in 1982 by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, to assist marginalized communities. President Emmerson Mnangagwa is now the Patron of the Trust and former Vice President Kembo Mohadi is the chairperson. The business unit is led by acting chairperson, Cephas Hodzi.