Greedy Zanu PF chefs draw dam water illegally

Augustine Mukaro

CORRUPTION in the land reform process has taken a new dimension, with Zanu PF chefs allegedly illegally drawing water from dams at the expense of other farmers.



T face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>This resulted in farmers failing to irrigate their wheat crop for the whole of last week when their pumps were left exposed by falling water levels.


Zimbabwe’s fourth largest dam, Mazvikadei in Banket, the main reservoir for the fertile Mashonaland West province where the majority of Zanu PF chefs grabbed farms, has been overdrawn to record lows.


Sources allege that senior party officials with farms downstream of Mkwadzi River on which the dam is sited, ordered the opening of valves to allow water to flow into their smaller reservoirs.


They said the government-run Agricultural and Rural Development Authority was operating a number of farms in the area on behalf of Zanu PF chefs.


A visit to the area by the Zimbabwe Independent last weekend revealed that for a week farmers drawing water from the dam’s south bank were forced to move their pumps nine metres into the dam to reach the fast dropping water level.


“The dam is losing water faster than normal and so far it has dropped to the lowest level ever,” one wheat farmer said. “Traditional syndicate farmers, including Bantebury, Pindi Park, Fenemere and Fish Farm had to move their pumps nine metres into the dam to reach the water.”


Workers at Pindi Park and Fish Farm confirmed that the dam water had drastically dropped, forcing the syndicate farmers to move pumps into the dam.


“Last week the syndicate farmers had to employ four tractors to pull out one of their tractors that got stuck in mud as it was moving the pumps into the dam,” a foreman at one of the farms said. “Wheat crop at Fish Farm had gone for almost a week without water.”


The farm draws water directly from Mazvikadei to irrigate an estimated 54 hectares of wheat.


The workers said the small reservoirs which draw water from Mazvikadei through canals were very low due to alleged theft of water.


Water experts in the area said the land reform programme had disrupted water management systems, exposing them to abuse by powerful individuals.


“Previously the water was controlled by a river board that would allocate water to syndicates in accordance with the budgets presented to it,” the experts said. “Water has a primary right where everyone has access to it and an extraction right whereby water can be drawn for commercial use,” he said.