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Wetlands Shoddy Deals Expose Authorities’ Complicity


By Tendai Guvamombe

The constant rise in the fight against invasion of wetlands in Harare has exposed shoddy deals orchestrated by relevant authorities amid calls for the government to subject perpetrators under investigative scrutiny.

On Friday last week City of Harare Environmental Committee and Harare Wetlands Trust embarked on another Joint Wetland Tour in different suburbs of Harare.

The expedition notably identified a real case in the Grange suburbs where construction of a house is taking place in the catchment area of Manyonga River which directly flows into a nearby dam.

Information obtained from the available documents held by Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and City of Harare vindicates Pege Simbarashe Makuchete as the beholder of the disputed residential stand.

Simbarashe Makuchete appeared before the touring crew where he explained the process of how he got an approved residential plan from the City of Harare and EMA’s Environmental Impact Assessment stamped documents.

“Firstly I approached all the relevant Authorities (City of Harare and EMA) sometime last year where I got the papers approving construction of this house and I don’t seem to know why people are so much concerned about this stand.”

The background matter relates to a direct intervention made by Mazowe Catchment Council which raised alarm for an immediate suspension of construction sometime last year claiming the area was not fit for a residential settlement.

In a statement issued by Francis Nyamutsamba, Chairman of Mazowe Sub Catchment Council, despite all efforts exerted by Nyaguwe Sub catchment Council and Mazowe Catchment Council ordering immediate stoppage of construction there has not been any progress made.

“Nyaguwe Sub catchment Council and Mazowe Catchment Council engaged Sithole the developer recently and it was agreed to stop the construction but to my surprise today construction is still continuing and we don’t know what relevant authorities are saying regarding this.”

The Chairperson of City Environmental Committee Kudzai Kadzombe said they are scheduled to present a report on wetlands ahead of the Full Council Meeting to be held in February.

“We are here to see what’s on the ground. As we are touring various places, we are taking down notes such that when we go back we present a comprehensive report towards end of January for Full Council to a make a decision.”

Harare Wetlands Trust and City Councillors undertook the initiative to jealously safeguard wetlands whose invasions has negatively affected water levels of Lake Chivero due to siltation.

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