Commissions Watch 2 August 2018 [ZHRC report on Tokwe-Mukosi Floods 23 March 2017]
COMMISSIONS WATCH 2/2017
[23rd March 2017]
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Report: Tokwe-Mukosi Floods of and Chingwizi
Relocation Site
This bulletin is the first of several that will draw attention to and summarise reports of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission on investigations carried out since the Commission
became operational. We start with a report that, although dating from 2014, deals with an
important aspect of a subject that has again been in the news and is still prompting headlines –
namely, floods and the rights of persons in communities affected by floods. The report is
essential reading for those evaluating the authorities’ response to the recent widespread floods
in both rural and urban areas. It should also inform the thinking of those responsible for
decisions on the planning and construction of the proposed Kunzvi dam to augment Harare’s
water supplies; that major project will displace many people and the Kampala Convention
referred to below has provisions devoted to the obligations of State authorities as regards
displacement of persons by projects carried out by private or public actors.
The Commission has maintained its interest in environmental rights in the context of floods. In
January it issued a Press Statement on The Promotion and Protection of Environmental and
Related Rights in the Face of Ongoing Flooding in Urban Areas link, the subject of Commissions
Watch 1/2017 link.
Background to the Commission’s Report on Chingwizi
Early in 2014, Masvingo Province experienced torrential rainfall. The consequential flooding
resulted in the partial collapse of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam. As a result of the devastation
caused by the flooding, those directly affected and those perceived to be in imminent danger
were evacuated from the Tokwe-Mukosi area to Chingwizi Relocation Site.

The flooding

induced a severe humanitarian crisis, and in February 2014 the Government of Zimbabwe
declared the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam flooding a national disaster, and appealed to the international
community for assistance. Chingwizi was intended to be a temporary relocation site, but the
flood victims were not resettled promptly as expected. The situation at Chingwizi deteriorated
quickly, and urgent human rights concerns began to emerge, which led representatives of those
living at Chingwizi to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Section 243(1)(d) of
the Constitution, requires the Commission to receive and consider complaints from the public
and to take such action in regard to the complaints as it considers appropriate. In response to
the complaint filed, members of the Commission conducted a site visit at Chingwizi Relocation
Site from 19th to 22nd August 2014.
The Commission’s Report
This bulletin summarises the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission’s report following its
investigation into the Chingwizi Relocation Site. The report, which was released in October
2014, contains very strong recommendations. [The full text of the report is available on the

Veritas website here or from]. The Commission’s report classified those affected by the floods
as internally displaced persons, and made it clear that they required the same protection and
remedies as those regarded as such by the African Union Convention for the Protection and
Assistance for the Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention) and the UN
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement [available on Veritas website here] [see the end of

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