UNSCRUPULOUS people have invaded Chingwizi transit camp housing victims of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam to jostle for free food handouts, compensation and free land to be doled out.
Briefing a three-member Cabinet committee headed by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo that toured Tokwe-Mukosi last week on Friday, Masvingo provincial administrator and chairperson of the Tokwe-Mukosi relocation taskforce, Felix Chikovo, said the number of victims had swelled and did not tally with the initial figures they got when a headcount was conducted during an evaluation exercise.
“Our official figures do not tally with the numbers we got when we had a headcount during the evaluation of their properties.
“Some unscrupulous individuals penetrated the system to get free food handouts as well as cash for compensation and land,” Chikovo said without giving figures.
“The affected villagers are set to get one hectare plots each that would be under irrigation for sugarcane production and thus end up as out-growers, according to the government.”
The government also promised to build houses for the affected villagers.
There are about 18 000 people from more than 2 500 families crammed in tents and living in inhumane conditions at the camp in Mwenezi stretching the limited donor resources as water and food shortages are the order of the day.
Chombo said they would make village heads identify people from their area to flush out intruders.
“You should ensure that village heads line up with their people to avoid intruders,” Chombo said.
Some of the affected villagers are said to have called their married children and relatives who were resident in towns so that they could get the “freebies”.
Compensation ranges from $2 000 to $8 000 or more, depending on the properties the villagers had before they were affected by the dam construction.
When the first batch of the villagers who were moved to Masangula in Nuanetsi Ranch got their money as compensation last year, there was an upsurge in armed robberies in the area as a result of the windfall.
One person was stabbed to death and robbed of $5 000 when the villagers were compensated.
Some villagers are alleged to have gone on drinking sprees while others are reported to have bought cars before bidding farewell to rural life and relocating to nearby towns and growth points.
A lot of them relocated to Ngundu growth point, Chivi, Chiredzi and Masvingo.