By Lloyd Takawira
Following massive scramble for accommodation which has seen land barons parceling out stands on wetlands leaving many people’s homes destroyed due to the heavy rains, the government has began production of a “Wetlands Master Plan” which it says will guide land use management system in most urban areas.
Speaking during a post cabinet briefing on Tuesday, government spokesperson who is Minister of information Hon Monica Mutsvangwa said that Cabinet received a progress report on the production of a Wetlands Master plan, which was presented by Hon. Vice President Chiwenga as Chairman of the Enhanced Cabinet Committee on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management.
“Cabinet was informed that the ongoing flooding which has rendered many homes uninhabitable has drawn attention to the need to adopt proper land use practices and avoid settlement in wetlands.
”Accordingly, work on the National Wetlands Masterplan has begun in earnest. Fieldwork for Greater Harare commenced on Monday, 1st March, 2021. In order to expedite the process, the model being developed for Harare will be replicated across the country, with rules being put in place to scientifically define wetlands and clearly delineate them.”
Mutsvangwa said that the wetlands master plan will give birth to a wetlands geo-database.
“The Wetlands geo-database will be deposited with the National Data Centre, with a Wetlands mobile application being available to assist policy formulation and land use planning…
The deliverables of the current efforts will be as follows: an interactive wetlands map for Zimbabwe; wetland sub-maps for each of the ten provinces, down to district and ward level, with co-ordinates accessible on the Web Map; and a categorized wetlands map to guide utilization thereof. Treasury is funding the $6 422 430.00 for the project” she said.
This year many families whose houses are built on wetlands were left homeless in many urban areas including Chitungwiza Gweru and Harare due to flash floods caused by heavy rains.
The pressure for accommodation has seen politically connected land barons preying on desperate home seekers thus parceling out land for accommodation in the most inhabitable wetlands especially in Chitungwiza areas of Zengeza 4 , Unit L as well as Harare’s Budiriro suburbs.
Recently the United Nations , Habitant International Coalition an international land rights and housing movement together with a host of organizations lauded the government to address the wetlands occupation in Zimbabwe .