By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
07 February 2014
Government bungling has been blamed for the Tokwe Mukorsi flooding which has seen a last minute rush to evacuate vulnerable villagers.
MDC-T Bulawayo South legislator Eddie Cross said if the government had heeded advice the dam would have been completed on time and the current situation would have been averted.
The government failed to meet its deadline to complete the construction of the dam by the end of last year, a development which has led to the huge volumes of water cutting holes through the incomplete wall.
Government this week started evacuating 4,000 villagers downstream of Tokwe Mukorsi Dam, who are at risk of being swept away by floods caused by the heavy rains.
Press reports Thursday quoted ‘engineers’ allaying fears that the dam wall had collapsed. A Daily News report quoted Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) officials saying Masvingo province, which is where the mega dam is situated, received ‘double the amount of rain it usually gets.’ Chief Executive officer Albert Muyambo said this eventuality was not anticipated by the engineers who he said were working flat out to resolve the problem.
But Cross said he, together with his colleagues in the budget and finance parliamentary committee, advised the government last year to speed up the completion of the dam. He said they warned that unless the government found the funding and hired a professional engineering firm to oversee the project the construction of Tokwe Mukorsi dam would not be completed on time.
But Cross told SW Radio Africa that Zinwa, which supervises the construction of the Tokwe Mukorsi Dam, has no capacity to handle the project.
‘When we arrived there last year we found the site in shambles. I was very unhappy with the supervisory team which was there from the water authority. We found an engineer drinking beer. Nobody else was around.’ He added: ‘when I mentioned this to government I was told that Zinwa was doing a good job.’
Cross revealed that the project is about 85 percent finished.
The floods pose a danger to the people living in Ngundu, Gororo, Triangle and Nyahombe areas.
Meanwhile from Bulawayo SW Radio African correspondent, Lionel Saungweme reports that two people were saved from drowning when floods destroyed 18 homes in Tsholotsho Thursday.