By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
12 May 2014
ZANU PF ministers were forced to abort a meeting with the Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims after the villagers booed them for telling them to leave the camp.
Reports say 10 ministers arrived at Chingwizi transit camp in Mwenezi Saturday, with a view to talking the victims, who are sheltered there, into moving elsewhere.
The ruling party deployed its heavyweights in the ministries of local government, information, agriculture, lands, energy, finance, environment, health, home affairs, as well as Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
The ministers who managed to speak reportedly told the villagers that the State has identified and pegged one-hectare plots for the displaced families to occupy.
The villagers say this breaches an earlier agreement to resettle them on 4-hectare plots and to give them $4,000 each as compensation for their losses.
They have vowed to stay put until their demands for financial compensation and for larger pieces of land have been met.
According to the Southern Eye newspaper the villagers heckled and booed the ministers one after the other, forcing them to abandon their speeches and to beat a hasty retreat back to Harare.
Those who tried to speak but were heckled into silence were Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, Lands Minister Douglas Mombeshora, and Bhasikiti who was forced to run for dear life when the Chingwizi campers pelted him with stones during a recent visit.
The families also refused to chant ZANU PF slogans, something which must have come as a shock to the ministerial delegation for so long used to dictating to the usually acquiescent villagers.
The villagers even blocked the ministerial vehicle from driving off and only moved after intervention by the police.
Admire Mashenjere, of the Tokwe-Mukosi Rehabilitation Trust, told SW Radio Africa that the displaced villagers are angry with the government for failing to keep its promises.
“What people are protesting against is the apparent insincerity by the government. We have lost faith in what government officials are telling us.
“If it means living in these tents indefinitely it is better for us to do so while we wait to be compensated first, because we do not believe that the government is sincere that it will give us the funds once we have moved,” Mashenjere said.
There are fears that the camp is a ticking health bomb, with conditions there described by visitors and dwellers alike as crammed and unhygienic.
The families are also under the constant threat of hunger with reports that two more people died this week, and Mashenjere is linking the deaths to a poor diet.
The villagers have also expressed concern at the lack of privacy and loss of dignity with children and adults forced to share a single tent.
Last week, the Southern Eye newspaper reported that a man from the camp had raped his two daughters.