Matabeleland Institute Accuses Zimbabwe Government of Ignoring Villagers' Plea for Relocation Information

Zimbabwean government accused of disregarding Lubimbi villagers' plea for relocation details due to Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction, raising concerns over transparency and accountability.

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Olalekan Adigun
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Matabeleland Institute Accuses Zimbabwe Government of Ignoring Villagers' Plea for Relocation Information

Matabeleland Institute Accuses Zimbabwe Government of Ignoring Villagers' Plea for Relocation Information

The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has accused the Zimbabwean government of disregarding the plea of Lubimbi villagers in Binga who are seeking information about their relocation due to the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam. The villagers had petitioned the government to provide details on the plans to relocate them from the area to make way for the dam project.

According to MIHR director Khumbulani Maphosa, the local government has not responded to the villagers' appeal, leaving their future uncertain. The government had previously announced that the affected villagers would be relocated to a different area and assisted in building new houses. However, the lack of communication and transparency has raised concerns among the residents.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) had ordered the Local Government ministry to release the requested information to MIHR, as per the Freedom of Information Act. Despite this directive, the ministry has failed to comply, further exacerbating the situation.

Why this matters: The plight of the Lubimbi villagers highlights the importance of government accountability and transparency in handling relocation projects. The failure to provide essential information to affected communities can lead to increased uncertainty, anxiety, and mistrust, potentially hindering the smooth implementation of development projects.

The Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction is set to displace approximately 502 families in the Lubimbi area. The project, which was expected to be completed by December 2020, has faced delays and concerns from the local community. "The government must prioritize the well-being and rights of the affected villagers and ensure that they are adequately informed and supported throughout the relocation process," Maphosa stated, emphasizing the need for open communication and adherence to legal obligations.

Key Takeaways

  • MIHR accuses Zimbabwean govt of disregarding Lubimbi villagers' plea for relocation info
  • Local govt failed to respond to villagers' appeal, leaving their future uncertain
  • ZMC ordered ministry to release info, but it failed to comply, worsening the situation
  • Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction to displace 502 families in Lubimbi area
  • Govt must prioritize affected villagers' well-being and ensure transparency in relocation