7 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Chiadzwa Villagers Blast Govt-Owned Diamond Miner

Photo: About Aristocrats-hat
An aerial view of the controversial Chiadzwa diamond diggings.

Marange Development Trust (MDT) has described the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company (ZCDC) as worse than the private diamond mining companies it replaced.

The Trust, formed in 2014 to represent the interests of the Marange community, said it was disappointed with the inhuman treatment of community members by the ZCDC since it took over mining operations at the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Officials were testifying before Parliament's Mines and Energy committee this Monday regarding the operations of the government-owned ZCDC.

The parastatal replaced several privately-owned companies which had operation at Chiadzwa after government officials said the country was being cheated with former president Robert Mugabe claiming that some $15billion was looted by the foreign operators.

"We were happy when we heard government was taking over believing all our problems would be addressed. They ZCDC just came and started working.

"We woke up to the sound of machinery about 50 metres from our homes," said Beular Mawoyo, an MDT committee member.

Mawoyo, who is also daughter to headman Chiadzwa, added, "The dust is too much as you can hear the hoarseness of my voice. Our solar panels were no longer working because of too much dust and we are always coughing.

"Next we are told 26 families have to be relocated in two days' time. They later added a day after we complained that the time was limited.

When we requested that families be allowed to visit the proposed new place to assess, they told us we would still move whether we like it or not."

According to Mawoyo, the community dip tank and wells were destroyed and have not been replaced, leaving the about 400 households in Tinoengana community which still await the phase two relocation in quandary.

"Although we will be relocated, the fact is we haven't yet been moved. We deserve a dignified existence until we are relocated. They now give us two water bowsers of 1,500 litres capacity each for all those families. We can no longer move freely.

"The guards are beating up people until they die, some have to be treated for grave wounds, but we are saying can't the (company) just apprehend and hand them over to police for the law to take its course.

"The company should also give food aid to those they dispossessed of their farm land."

Chairperson of ZDT Malvern Mudiwa appealed to parliament to help advocate for the review of the motor vehicle permit required under the new Marange system.

"The permit is accessible 120 km away in Mutare and is renewed every month. What is so special about this permit?

"Why can't it be issued by local police and be valid until we are moved?".


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