Minister blasted for wetland building

Ignatius Chombo, the minister of local government, public works and national housing, has come in for heavy criticism from residents of Harare for disregarding the city’s strict by-laws, which forbid the construction of property on wetlands.

Ignatius Chombo, minister for local government, public works and housing.
Ignatius Chombo, minister for local government, public works and housing.

The residents said the abuse of wetlands was partly responsible for the city’s water shortages.

Chombo allegedly approved the building of a shopping mall on a wetland near Borrowdale racecourse. At a recent meeting, Borrowdale residents quizzed a developer over the project.

“Any threat to wetlands would affect the eco-system. Natural existence of birds, fish and frogs, among others, would be endangered,” said Councillor Stewart Mutizwa.

His view was supported by Professor Christopher Magadza, who warned Zimbabwe against tampering with wetlands which he said “were essential for both human and animal lives”.

Magadza said: “Wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, such as water purification, flood control and trapping waste headed to rivers and dams.” He said wetlands were disappearing at a fast rate because of illegal settlements and lack of law enforcement.

The chairperson for Harare Environmental Management Committee, Councillor Chris Mbanga, said the council would eventually win the battle over the wetlands as they were being invaded out of ignorance.

“My committee and council have also embarked on education campaigns at ward level to make residents aware of the importance of wetlands to society,” Mbanga told The Zimbabwean.

Post published in: News
  1. Cde Manesi

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