By Tendai Guvamombe
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism chaired by Hon Concilia Chinanzvavana has promised to exercise its legislative powers in the quest to protect wetlands from further invasion.
Hon Chinanzvavana revealed this yesterday during parliamentarians wetlands tour at various places of Harare along with Harare Wetlands Trust and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Addressing journalists, Hon Chinanzvavana said there is an urgent need to seek attention of the responsible Ministry in the quest to find out circumstances leading to wetlands invasion.
“When we see places without permits and EIAs, we would like to know who gave them the permission to carry out development so our next step is to call the minister before the committee for us to have an oversight of what happened,” she said.
Member of Parliament for Southerton Constituency Hon Peter Moyo who was part of the touring crew echoed similar sentiments saying there is need to craft legislation on protection of wetlands to avoid corrupt cases within the government.
“Developments in places such as Kambuzuma and Long Chen were actually a disaster where the government would override local authorities so we want to put legislation which is clear and straight forward to protect our wetlands,” he said.
Among the toured places include Monavale Vlei, University of Zimbabwe, Borrowdale, Glenlorne and Eastlea Suburbs.
Harare Wetlands Trust (HWT) Programs Manager Selestino Chari expressed optimism at the way parliamentarians are interrogating invasion of wetlands.
“The tour was an eye opener for legislators to see the real situation on ground. We now expect the authorities to make a motion to the effect of stopping all developments done on wetlands. We are expecting a parliamentarian report and conclusion of the breakfast meeting,” he said.
Research has shown that water levels at Lake Chivero have dwindled to 17 metres and further invasion of wetlands will dry up all its streams which originate from swampy areas.