Lovemore Lubinda

Hundreds of families in Chitungwiza and Harare whose houses are built on wetlands are abandoning their homes.

With the incessant rains falling every day since December last year; the homes have become inhabitable leaving little option for them but to desert the homes.

“We can no-longer live in our house.It’s full of water,” said Robert Mumberi, a resident of Chitungwiza unit O extension.”

Mumberi blames the municipality for not putting proper drainage systems.

“The water has nowhere to go. The municipality should have not serviced the area so that the water would flow freely,” says Mumberi whose house is situated to a stream which drains into Nyatsime River.

Counterpart Hebert Ashton says it’s fortunate they have a raise slab, but even though, his backyard is a wide pool of water which is making it impossible for the family to live at their house.

Cursory surveys by found out that most of the houses are built right on wetlands leaving water passages totally blocked.

“These affected houses in Seke and Zengeza parts of Chitungwiza have been built on perennial flood areas,” says Neverson Mushawatu a resident in Unit P Chitungwiza. “I lived here for past 30 years. The area where most of houses are flooded was all a wetland.”

They were built on following massive land scam by land barons who ignored the local town plan for the sack of big bucks.

While the municipality have identified the guilty parties including among them land barons, they have effectively failed to stop the practice and prospective homeowners are still being given land to build in these wetlands.

Elsewhere in Harare Westgate red bricks area and Monavale vlei, the situation is dire as the flooded wetland.

Developments in wetlands have been an emotive one in the two municipalities with constant battles being waged to preserve them. Environmentalists   and concerned citizens have in the years putting on the local authorities to reverse those developments but land barons and property developers with the backing and powerful links to government officers have blocked the moves.