By Paul Shalala in Kariba, Zimbabwe
Energy Ministers from Zambia and Zimbabwe on Tuesday held a two hour closed door meeting at the Zambezi River Authority offices in the Zimbabwean town of Kariba.
The meeting followed a week of media reports indicating that the Kariba dam which is shared by the two countries, was at the risk of collapsing due to cracks which had developed on the dam wall.
After the two hours closed door meeting, the two ministers, accompanied by another minister and a deputy minister from Zimbabwe, toured the dam wall where they were briefed on efforts being made to protect the facility.
They later entered entered the underground tunnels for more tours.
Several cracks where found on the wall which extended for several meters.
In some areas, water was even licking into the tunnel.
The two delegations where also taken to the plunge pool were re-shaping works are expected to take six years.
After the tour, the two delegations went to Kariba Town in Zimbabwe were they briefed the media on the state of the dam.
At Carribea Bay Hotel, Zimbabwean energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire declared the Kariba Dam safe to the public.
He however said maitenance works were needed and they would cost the two countries US4230 million.
His Zambian counterpart Christopher Yaluma assured the media that cooperating partners were ready to fund the the rehabilitation works.
But Zambezi River Authority Chief Executive Officer Munyaridzi Munodawafa downplayed the cracks on the dam wall describing them as "superficial."
He said they were not dangerous or a threat to the stability of the dam.
The two neighbouring countries have since constituted a committee to scout for funds to refurbish the Kariba Dam and its headed by Zambia's Finance Permanent Secretary Felix Nkulukusa.
The Kariba Dam is a regional source of energy for the Southern Africa region as the Zambezi river which passes through the Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique is a source of energy for these countries.
If indeed the Kariba Dam is to collapse, an estimated 3.5 million people would be affected in the southern Africa region.