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Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles
needed about Marange diamonds - Interview with Melania Chiponda
Makoni Muchemwa, Kubatana.net
January 18, 2012
Inside/Out with Melania Chiponda
View audio file details
Chiponda is the Programme Manager for Chiadzwa
Community Development Trust. CCDT was formed with the objective
of lobbying and advocating for mining authorities to involve and
consult communities on efforts to reform mining laws as well as
to monitor the human rights situation in Marange. CCDT has become
the community's mouthpiece in negotiations with all stakeholders,
including donor and government agencies.
Source: Kubatana.net and Zimbabwe Independent
is life like in Chiadzwa?
It's not good. It's depressing. We had a meeting with
the community last week, and found that the relocation is being
done at random. Now it is going so fast. Most people there think
that it's a political problem. The mining companies haven't
even started mining where they've removed people. All the
mining companies are involved in this.
the people who are being relocated been compensated?
No that's the most depressing issue. Some of them were even
forced to sell their livestock. Most rural households average seven
hectares, and where they are going the plot size is one hectare.
Given that Chiadzwa is a region five area they only do livestock
farming. Now they are forced to reduce the size of their herd. Around
Christmas time people were selling their cattle for $200 a head.
It was so cheap that it was painful. Goats were sold at giveaway
prices because the people were saying they don't have space
at the relocation area in Arda Transau.
you have a case against the companies that were instituting forced
evictions. Are you still working on this?
Yes, but you know what the legal system is like here. We did an
urgent application and it was thrown out because they had not started
relocating people so the court said it wasn't urgent. We haven't
given up, but this year we are going to do a human rights mobilisation
and education programme. For us to take action we have to do it
together with the community. They have to understand what is wrong
with the way that things are done. We are definitely going to challenge
the companies on issues of compensation, on issues of adequate housing.
We were the first to say that the houses built by Anjin were of
poor quality. Sometime last November 89 of those houses were destroyed
by the first storm of the rainy season.
mentioned that you have to do community mobilisation. Is the community
not unhappy about the way they are being treated by the government
and the mining companies?
They are very, very unhappy. They are not happy with the lack of
information from the government. Some of them were given just three
days' notice of the relocation. They were not really informed
household by household. They just saw it in the newspapers. People
expected that they would be informed on an individual household
basis. Nothing came. Then when the DA came and made evaluations
he left some houses out.
community leadership, the chiefs, the DA, the Headmen doing anything
to assist the community?
We are not certain of the system being used by these companies to
deal with the community. They've made sure that the chiefs
have beautiful houses and given them and the headmen Vigo double
cabs. We only have one headman who is saying this is not proper,
though he also has a car. He's been trying to tell the people
not to leave before their houses have been evaluated so they know
the value. But his is just one voice crying in the wilderness because
no one is listening. The community is not saying they don't
want the diamonds to be mined, but they want it to be done in such
a way that their concerns are addressed and that their social and
economic rights are also observed.
that the first 300 families to be relocated were given $1000 per
family and groceries as compensation. Is this true?
They were given a $1000 yes, but it's not compensation. Since
2009 there was no farming in Chiadzwa because everyone was waiting
and no one was communicating with them about when they would move.
We are saying that that money is not enough for them when they haven't
had anything for almost two years. That is the only money they've
received up to now. How are they supposed to survive? Then the food
quantities . . . it was only after a year that Anjin started giving
food. The company that has given the most hand outs on a regular
basis is Marange Resources. But it's not enough. People don't
want handouts. They have pride in working for themselves. Locals
are not guaranteed employment in the mine. When we spoke to a certain
company they said the local people were thieves. We later found
out that the people who were stealing actually came from as far
as Muzarabani and all over Zimbabwe. Some of these people were getting
bribes for employment. Some of these companies are notorious for
getting bribes. The people of Marange are too poor to pay bribes.
has the mining affected the women of the community?
I really feel for the women. Frustration is vented on women. They
are the most affected. Rural women depend on the land and when the
land is taken away their livelihood has been taken. When they count
households they count men. Women-headed households are left out.
Women are not even involved in decision-making.
is your opinion of the decision by the Kimberly Process to certify
There are still human rights violations in Chiadzwa. That's
a fact. But to say that the diamonds should not be sold ... I don't
think that would benefit anybody. They will still be smuggled and
you saying then that they should sell the diamonds but the process
should be more accountable?
Yes. We were part of 'Publish what you Pay' and the
Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency. I think the process should
be transparent. We only hear that there are diamonds in Chiadzwa,
but in which area was exploration done, apart from the one done
by De Beers? And the 58 000 hectares that they claim is a diamond
field, is that all? Because at the beginning of this year the fireguard
was extended. Now the community which is most affected doesn't
have this information. They want to know what's next for them.
I mean where are the diamonds? Where are they to mined? For how
long are they going to mine? How many diamonds are they getting
from there and how much are they worth? What is the government getting?
What is the local authority getting? They have nothing. No information
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