President Robert Mugabe’s historic visit to Tokwe Mukosi since the floods that displaced many people three years ago had raised the victims’ hopes for a lasting solution only to be disappointed after he chose to skirt the issue.
The Tokwe Mukosi flood victims were pauperised by the floods but have not been paid their compensation in full.
Some of them are still holed up in a camp at Chingwizi while others have been forced onto small pieces of land at Chiumburu Farm which critics have condemned as not spacious enough to ensure a sustainable settlement for the people.
Mugabe arrived at the ceremony in helicopters accompanied by his two deputies Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko together with the Water, Environment and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.
Mugabe took to the podium and chose to only brag about the dam, praising the partnership which he said his government created with the Italian contractor, Salini Impraligio, to see to it that the dam was successfully completed.
“We are gathered here to welcome the completion of giant Tokwe Mukosi dam. This monumental achievement will usher in a new trajectory for this drought prone Masvingo province,” said Mugabe.
He said the dam will improve crop production since much of the water will be used for irrigation as well as the generation of electricity.
Mugabe also said Tokwe Mukosi Dam was a brain child of Zanu PF and no other party in the country could have been able to come up with the initiative.
“Zanu PF musangano une pfungwa dzemberi. Hapana chiparty chaigona kufunga zvakadai. Zvingangova zvakatitorera nguva asi taiziva chete kuti dam rakadai richapera,” said Mugabe despite reports that White settlers had planned to build he dam as far back as 1955.
Half way through his speech, people hoped Mugabe would address the plight of the flood victims but he chose to dwell on the types of fish that would be available on the market.
At the end of the speech, Mugabe nearly strayed into the flood victims’ challenges but tasked Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Shuvai Mahofa to address the issue.
“Mai Mahofa moona kuti vanhu venyu vapihwa here maprojects aya amanga muchitaura. Vaye vasina kuzenge vapihwa nzvimbo dzekugara zvava kwamuri kurwisana nehurumende asi chapter iyi yazopera,” said Mugabe.
Part of the crowd started walking away after realising that Mugabe, who had arrived late, had chosen to avoid addressing their problems.topnews