Zim forced flood victim removals - HRW

2015-02-03 18:46
President Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (File: AFP) (Robert Mugabe )

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare - The Zimbabwe government used violence and restricted humanitarian aid to force about 20 000 flood victims to resettle on tiny plots earmarked for a sugar cane plantation, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

The one-hectare plots are on a farm that has close links to President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, the rights group said in a 57-page report.

Under the government's plans, the flood victims are required to grow sugar cane on Nuanetsi Ranch in the southeastern Masvingo province to contribute to a government-owned ethanol project.

"The Zimbabwean government has stopped at nothing to coerce 20 000 flood victims to accept a resettlement package that provides labour for a government project, but leaves the flood victims utterly destitute," HRW's Dewa Mavhinga.

"The Zimbabwean government should immediately give the victims adequate aid without conditions and compensate them fairly for their losses."

Mavhinga told a news conference that the villagers were displaced from their homes a year ago when floods hit the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam construction area, in Masvingo province.

Mugabe declared the floods a national disaster and appealed for $20m from donor agencies to assist in relocating the villagers.

Despite promises of compensation and new houses for the displaced villagers, nothing has been done, HRW said.

"They [the villagers] do not have access to adequate food, shelter, sanitation and potable water," Mavhinga said, adding that the villagers were living in tents.

The massive Tokwe-Mukorsi dam project, which began more than a decade ago, is near completion and is expected to assist in power generation and irrigation projects.

Some of the flood victims were already slated for resettlement prior to the emergency, but had resisted moving without receiving fair compensation for their property.

"The government used violence and intimidation to quell protests, and restricted food distribution and health and education services to those who refused to accept government resettlement plans," the report said.

The flood victims told HRW the new plots are too small to support their families and that they are being given no choice but to grow sugar cane for a project that will not be fully operational for seven years.

HRW said the circumstances surrounding the floods were "suspicious", suggesting that they could have been prevented by letting out water downstream.

Read more on:    hrw  |  zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.