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Proposed construction of cluster houses on Mutare wetland elicits objection

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By James Muonwa


A GROUP of youths involved in environmental protection and conservation has lobbied the government to stop the proposed construction of 23 cluster houses on a wetland in the Eastern border city of Mutare.

Manica Youth Assembly (MAYA) is opposed to the proposed new project by an unidentified developer at stand 7568, Tiger Kloof in Murambi low density suburb, Mutare.

In a letter dated May 24, 2024, addressed to Local Government Minister Daniel Garwe, MAYA expressed grave concern over the “destructive” initiative.

“Destruction of this wetland would not only have a negative impact on biodiversity but also exacerbate local flooding issues and reduce the overall resilience of the ecosystem.

“As a youth organisation dedicated to environmental protection and conservation, we are writing to urgently request your assistance in protecting and preserving a recognised wetland located on a low-density stand 7568, Tiger Kloof in Mutare urban district,” wrote the youth body.

“We are deeply concerned about the proposed development of 23 cluster homes on this wetland, which plays a critical role in the local ecosystem and provides important environmental services such as flood regulation, water purification, and habitat for numerous plant and animal species.”

MAYA highlighted need for government to display commitment to protection and preservation of wetlands as a signatory of international conventions.

“Moreover, we would like to bring to your attention the upcoming Ramsar COP15, which is to be held in Zimbabwe, and will focus on the importance of wetland conservation.

“As a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, Zimbabwe has committed to protecting wetlands. It is crucial that we demonstrate our commitment to these international conservation goals by safeguarding important wetland areas such as the one in Mutare urban district.

MAYA reiterated its condemnation of the proposed setting up of infrastructure on the disputed site.

“…we urge you to take immediate action to halt this destructive development. Instead, we urge the government to explore alternative options for sustainable development that does not involve destruction of a critical wetland habitat.”

Mutare City Council, which approved the site plan, could not be reached for comment by the time of publishing.