Four millions lives at risk if Kariba Dam Wall collapsed

Four million lives in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are at risk if the 54-year-old Kariba dam wall collapsed, Moomba UPND member of Parliament Vitalis Mooya has warned.

Mr Mooya who is an Engineer also said the economies of the three countries would adversely be affected as 40 percent power generation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) would be reduced.

“If that dam wall collapsed, about four million human lives would be at risk in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.  It is not only human life that would be affected but also animals down the stream in these countries. This is all because the management of the Zambezi River Authority has exhibited gross negligence. Nine years ago, there was a report that the dam wall needed urgent rehabilitation and today we are talking about the dam wall at the verge of collapsing. This is negligence of the worst kind and management at Zambezi River Authority must resign or be dismissed,” Mr Mooya said.

He demanded the dismissal of the entire Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) management for alleged gross negligence deliberately misinforming Zambia and Zimbabwe on the status of the Kariba Dam Wall.

Mr Mooya said when he raised alarm that the Kariba Dam Wall was in danger, government denied and informed Zambians that the wall was safe and that its life span was not under threat.

He said three months ago, he demanded that government gave a comprehensive statement on the status of the Kariba Dam wall but Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma told the nation that the dam wall was not under any threat.

Mr Mooya said following conflicting statements from government about the status of the dam wall, he had asked government to give the true status of the dam wall but that it was unfortunate that Mr Yaluma did not give the correct evaluation of the wall.

He said the consequences of the Kariba Dam Wall collapsing were grave and that it was important for the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe to immediately take remedial measures to avoid a catastrophe.

Mr Mooya said although the expected life span for the Kariba Dam Wall from this year was projected at 90 years, it was surprising that the current report indicated the dam was under threat.

The Kariba Dam was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1960 with the switching on of the first electricity generators which brought to life one of Africa’s most ambitious projects.

The construction of the dam took four years and was one of the engineering wonders of the world, a double curvature concrete arch dam wall standing at the height of 128 metres above the river bed.