Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) appreciates the holding of the High Level InterMinisterial Indaba on Lake Gwayi-Shangani being convened by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development in Hwange on Friday 03 June 2022. We thus implore the High Level Indaba to abide by the tenants of Constitutionalism and formulate a clear, inclusive and human rights based Compensation and Relocation Framework before any displacements take place as is detected by Section 65 and 66 of the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy.
Section 66 of the ZNHS Policy stipulates that “where an alternative land use (a dam, road, mine, plantation, different type of settlement, etc) warranting displacement is contemplated proponents of the alternative land use, in close and non-coercive collaboration with the community of place and their local authority will fully implement the national compensation framework.” Section 65 mandates that the “National government will develop a ‘Compensation and Relocation Framework’ and build capacity in its application”.
MIHR has been monitoring the Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction and is concerned with complaints from the Lubimbi villagers who have decried lack of consultation regarding the displacements, unclear communication of the displacement plan, blackout of compensation modalities and the poor communication system. The communities have also raised concern on lack of safeguards for protecting their right to education, right to health, right to water and cultural rights, such as repatriation and reburial of the dead ones and traditional, cultural and ancestral sites.
Critical expectations are therefore that the Friday High Level InterMinisterial Indaba should, in line with the Vision 2030 and with government’s ‘leave no one and no community behind’ mantra announce key aspects of the Framework which include:
- The key guiding principles and standards for the Compensation and Relocation Framework;
- The roadmap for the development of the Compensation and Relocation Framework detailing the dates of producing the first draft, the anticipated dates for provincial consultations and resources committed to building capacity around it;
- A policy declaration that the over 2,000 Lubimbi villagers to be displaced by the lake will be consulted in a non-coercive manner and there will be free, prior and informed consent and fair compensation as will be guided by the Framework.
The formulation of this Compensation and Relocation Framework will be in compliance with the Zimbabwean Constitution, the National Human Settlements Policy, as well as the Kampala Convention (which Zimbabwe ratified), the Pinheiro Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons; and the United Nations Basic Guidelines and Principles on Development Induced Displacements.
MIHR has, together with 16 other community based organizations from across Zimbabwe, produced a policy submission paper as part of the Just Displacements Campaign and the paper had been shared with independent Commissions, media and government through Ministry of Local Government which is the custodian of the National Human Settlements Policy.