With Tropical Cyclone Kenneth expected to make landfall soon, there appears to be confusion in the government departments with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) and the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) issuing contradictory statements on whether or not the cyclone will affect Zimbabwe.
The MSD yesterday said that the cyclone is not expected to affect Zimbabwe at all in a statement. However, the CPU, on the other hand, said that Cyclone Kenneth would affect parts of Zimbabwe which include, Gokwe, Mt Darwin, Chimanimani, Chipinge, Masvingo, Mutoko, Mbire, Mzarabani, Nyanga and Mzarabani.
In a statement last night, director in the Department of Civil Protection Mr Nathan Nkomo said the cyclone had been sighted in the Comoros Island facing Zimbabwe’s direction.
“Another Cyclone Kenneth, is projected to hit Mozambique, Malawi and some parts of Zimbabwe has been sighted in the Comoros Island facing this direction.”
“It is projected that the cyclone will be in the region around 6pm on April 25. The trajectory of this impending catastrophe has been given by our early warning units, the Meteorological Service Department (MSD) whose model projections are also supported by those given SADC,” he said.
This appears to not have gone down well with the MSD which reiterated its earlier position that the Cyclone will not affect Zimbabwe. Writing on its social media account, the MSD said
"Good morning Zimbabwe! As much as #CycloneKenneth is a reality, it is not likely to affect Zimbabwe. MSD will keep you posted on any new developments!"
Met department dismissed messages circulating on social media that Cyclone Kenneth will hit Zimbabwe.
In a statement, MSD refuted claims that Cyclone Kenneth will hit the eastern borders of Zimbabwe like what Cyclone Idai did.
“Of concern, are some messages that may have now gone overboard to the extent of misleading the public without making recourse to the Department about the real situation.
“While we have no problem with social media, we take exception to those messages that become sensational on matters of life and death.
“Tropical Storm Kenneth, off the north coast of Madagascar, is projected to strengthen into a Tropical Cyclone and if it maintains its westerly trajectory, it is set to make landfall near the Tanzanian border with Mozambique on Thursday evening after 6PM with a circulatory speed of approximately 200km/h.
“Areas that might be affected by heavy rains till April 27 are the southern parts of Tanzanian, northern provinces of Mozambique and Malawi,” read the statement.
MSD added that no rain is projected for Zimbabwe during this period till Saturday. Mostly sunny and warm conditions are anticipated.
MSD also urged the public to stop circulating false information and causing unnecessary panic.
“Accordingly, let us respect the authoritative voice principle, which ensures that all official communication on warnings and alerts that are a matter of life and death come from a single source.
“In Zimbabwe, the MSD is responsible for monitoring the weather. The public is, therefore, urged to check with the department for confirmation and decision-making.
“The department will continue monitoring the conditions and update the nation accordingly,” said the MSD.