Marange — Villagers who were affected by mining activities in the Marange diamond fields have taken a swipe at some development trusts which they said were established by individuals seeking riches using their suffering as the springboard.
There are two trusts in Marange namely Marange Development Trust run by Malrvin Mudiwa and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust run by former MDC-T Marange West MP Shuwa Mudiwa.
The trusts were formed to spearhead development in the community, engage mining companies and represent the villagers at various platforms.
Speaking at preparatory meeting which was convened by Farai Maguwu's Centre for Natural Resources Governance(CNRG) ahead of Operation Hakudzokwe Commemorations, villagers expressed their displeasure over the conduct of some the members of the trusts whom they said were taking advantage of their suffering to make money.
Moses Mukwada, a villager, said the so called trusts going to donors to access funding for themselves and their immediate family members.
"These trusts are not representing our wishes. These people they just come and siphon information from us and go to donors purporting to be representing us. They are actually spending more time in hotels outside the country doing their personal business. We are saying we are sick and tired of this nonsense. We want to stand for our rights.
"We are the ones being affected by the mining yet the trust representatives stay in the comfort zones. We are saying enough is enough. We want to open a new chapter for the benefit of our future generations. We are not afraid and not ashamed to say this in public," said the outspoken Mukwada.
Chido Karenyi from Chirasika village ward 30, Chiadzwa weighed in, saying she lost cattle when foreign firms which were mining poisoned the water sources but the trusts remained mum about compensation.
"They did nothing to represent us. I lost cattle and money but I never received any compensation. The board members of the trust will only come and siphon information from us and present it to the donors for their benefit. They used us actually.
"As villagers we are ones directly affected by the mining activities and we cannot have people living in Mutare or Harare or South Africa coming here and pretend to be our saviours
"We know them they globe trotted to Europe and some are holed outside the country using our poverty situation as their launch pad to greatness," said Karenyi.
Headman Mukwada confirmed that the trusts did not save any purpose and did more harm than the mines because they had failed to be a voice for the voiceless.
"Villagers should have a say in the decision making process. We cannot have people who don't stay locally going to represent us in Harare or outside the country. We can speak for ourselves, we have mouths to speak," he said.
He said villagers would soon get organized and map the way forward, adding that they would engage the Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Company (ZCDC) to discuss about development in their community.