By Tichaona Kurewa
TRADITIONAL leaders in Zimbabwe and Zambia have thrown their weight behind various developmental projects in and around the City of Victoria Falls saying they will improve people’s livelihoods.
Zimbabwe and Zambia recently hosted a Reactive Monitoring Mission (RRM) from UNESCO that is assessing the potential impact of various developmental projects to the outstanding universal value of the Mosi oa Tunya/Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.
The Mission included field visits and meetings with stakeholders on both sides of the Zambezi River.
Contributing to the on-going debate, Chief Shana indicated that developments in and around Victoria Falls are meant to support economic growth.
“My community is willing to find how they can be developed, because they are going to build residential areas. They want to develop, because the project is closer to the community. We want the area to develop very much, we will all look like people in town, and there will be no difference between us and those in town. My people are even asking when the Batoka project is starting. We are supporting the projects because the schools will be developed, the clinics,” he said.
Chief Mukuni from Zambia threw his weight behind the projects, indicating that the Batoka dam will improve power generation for the benefit of the two countries.
“When the Batoka Dam was mooted some years back, I was against the project because I thought it was going to affect rafting activities, but now that rafting has completely died a natural death, I’m now supporting the projects. I can now say go ahead and construct the Batoka Dam, it’s quite beneficial, and we will do away with load shedding. Our idea is to come up with a new Dubai on the banks of the Zambezi River, said Chief Mukuni.
The Reactive Monitoring Mission for the Mosi oa Tunya/Victoria Falls World Heritage Site will compile a report of its findings and come up with recommendations to the World Heritage Convention set for Russia in June this year.