by Regerai Tukutuku
The government says it has finished constructing the giant Tokwe Mukosi dam in Chivi district in Masvingo province at a cost over half a billion dollars, bringing joy to farmers in the lowveld.
The completion of the dam comes amid concerns of flooding along the dam basin as dozens of people who were displaced by floods last year have reinvaded the area.
“There are a few touches that have to be done but in actual fact we can say the dam is complete,” said Masvingo provincial administrator Felix Chikovo last week.
Hundreds of workers employed by the Italian contractor Saline Impregilo have been ordered not to report for work. “We have been ordered to go home as the dam is complete,” a site worker told The Zimbabwean.
Billed as the country largest inland water body, the dam has the capacity to turn large tracts of Chivi district into a green belt where farmers are grow crops round the clock through irrigation.
A series of work stoppages had affected the completion of the dam as the government ran out of funds to pay the contractor.
Meanwhile, scores of people displaced by the floods last year have reinvaded the dam basin to reclaim their land, saying they were unhappy with the way they were treated by the government when they were moved to Chingwizi transit camp in Mwenezi district about 150 km away.
Chikovo said they would be removed and reiterated that government was seeking financial assistance to compensate all the flood victims - most of whom have been settled in the Nuanetsi ranch.