27 August 2018

Mozambique: Relocation Riot in Pemba

Pachinuapa strikes gold

Frelimo political commission member Raimundo Pachinuapa has literally struck gold. He controls Mwiriti, which confirmed it has found gold in Nairoto, Montepuez, Cabo Delgado. (O Pais 2 Aug) Mwiriti alrady owns 25% of Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), which is owned 75% by a private equity company, Pallinghurst, which took over the previous owner Gemfields last year.

Relocation riot in Pemba

More than 900 families lost land in Pemba for the construction of the Pemba Logistical Base, intended to support the operations of oil and gas companies, and linked to murky companies connected to the $2 bn secret loans. On 16 August the displaced farmers rioted, built barricades, and clashed with the police. AIM (En 20 Aug) reports that "television footage showed the police used considerable violence to disperse the demonstrators. They used tear gas and detained people they believed were the ringleaders."

One elderly woman, Zaina Gulamo, told STV “they promised to build houses for us, and to give us a space for farming, but so far nothing has happened. We just see trucks driving past for the building works. That’s why we’re sitting in the road, to demand our rights, our money, our fields”.

The land had been farmland close to the city, and demonstrators claimed compensation was derisory. Assicate Zacarias said that, with his field “I could feed my family for seven months, but I only received 2,000 meticais ($35). What am I going to do with 2,000 meticais?”.(O Pais 20 Aug, STV 19 Aug)

Pemba Mayor Tagir Carimo said the compensation is fair, set at 7.5 meticais (12 US cents) per square metre of land, or MT 75,000 ($1250) per hectare. At that level, Zacarias would have been farming only 267 sq metres, or a 16 metres by 16 metres. But if he had been farming intensive horticulture, even that small plot would be worth much more than $35. For farmland near a city, this seems a very low compensation rate.

Manica peasants want to evict Portucel: Peasants from Chipindaumue and Nhamaturi want their land back from Portucel, which has been given large tracts of land but is not developing the land it has been given in Manica. Some of that land is excellent farmland. Local people want their land back, or jobs.(O Pais, 21 Aug) Meanwhile, Pedro Mendonca de Queiroz Pereira, the billionaire who built Portucel into a major European paper company and headed the holding company Navigator, died 18 August.

Indian coal miner ICVL was forced to resettle a community after a long legal battle. ICVL bought the coal mines of Rio Tinto in 2014, and inherited the responsibility to resettle the local community around the Benga mine. ICVL refused, but lost three court cases, and the Administrative Court finally froze three ICVL bank accounts, so it agreed to the resettlement. (Zitamar 16 Aug)

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