MASVINGO – Tokwe-Mukosi flood victims will finally have a little to smile about after a senior Government official confirmed that US$1,5 million was released last week for their outstanding compensation.
Government has had running battles with the more than 3 000 people evicted from Chivi in 2014 to clear way for the newly constructed Tokwe-Mukosi Dam as 1 995 of them have not received a cent in compensation for their destroyed homes.
Masvingo Provincial Administrator Fungai Mbetsa confirmed the development and said his office has already received the money in its bank account. He said the process of sending the money to the recipients' accounts is already underway and most of them should get the money by Friday this week. The Government still owes the victims $7,3 million and the current receipients will get 20% of what they are owed or $751 each.
"I can confirm that we have received $1,5m from the Central Government to compensate about 1 995 Chingwizi villagers. A total of $7,3m is outstanding and what we received is 20% of that amount. We are in the process of disbursing the money on a pro rata basis to all beneficiaries. We are paying them into their accounts and we expect that by Friday this week many should have accessed their money.
"I am talking about the money which I now have authority over since it is already in our account and I am talking about a process which is already underway," said Mbetsa.
Chingwizi villagers who had become frustrated following government`s continuous reneging on its promises to permanently resettle and compensate them had warned to resist any attempts to move them from the current transit camp where they are staying under conditions that have been described by many organisations as inhuman.
Mbetsa refused to comment on the progress of relocating the victims to new settlements saying it is something which is still in the planning stages.
"I cannot make any comments regarding moving the victims into new settlement places. The issue is still in the planning stages and I cannot pre-empt the issue," said Mbetsa.