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Marange villagers in quandary
Masekesa, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
April 28, 2012
View this on
the Standard (Zimbabwe) website
leaders in Marange are fuming over the failure by diamond
companies to compensate villagers who were relocated from mining
areas to Arda Transau in Odzi.
The traditional leaders
who include John Chirasika and Hebert Garahwa said they now wanted
an audience with both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to discuss the villagers’ concerns.
Over 780 families were
relocated to pave way for diamond mining in Chiadzwa. But four years
down the line, most of the families said they were still to be compensated
by the six diamond mining companies operating in the area, namely
Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Corporation,
Rera Diamonds and Jinan Investments. The companies could not be
reached for comment.
Headman Chirasika said
diamond mining companies have not been forthcoming in compensating
the affected families despite repeated promises to do so.
“We are the owners
of this land. It belongs to our ancestors, we should benefit from
it,” he said. “We have tried to get assistance from
the provincial governor [Chris Mushowe] regarding the compensation
but nothing has come our way. It is high time we talk to Mugabe
and Tsvangirai so that they can help us. These are the last people
that can help us.”
Chirasika accused some
of the mining companies of obstructing attempts by villagers to
meet with Mugabe.
He said some of the diamond
miners were threatening villagers and traditional leaders with unspecified
action, claiming that they were “close” to Mugabe.
Headman Garahwa said: “I do not know why the diamond companies
are punishing us like this. They have completely ignored our plight.
They are busy sponsoring colourful sporting activities and political
parties, while the real owners of the land are suffering. We want
He added: “They
are driving expensive cars and splashing wealth everywhere yet they
have ignored us. Vane chikwereti chedu [they owe us]. We will not
allow that. We are seeking audience with the highest offices so
that we can be assisted.”
Environmental Law Association (Zela) director Mutuso Dhliwayo
said the government had the obligation to ensure that the “eviction”
of communities and their subsequent relocation was done in a manner
that did not negatively affect their rights.
own land. The relocation of families where mineral resources like
diamonds are found should be done in a manner that does not affect
the villagers’ rights before, during and after the relocation
process,” he said.
‘We want president Mugabe to intervene’
villagers have tried several avenues to get compensation, but to
no avail. “We are being blocked and threatened. We hope the
country’s leadership will read the story and come to our rescue,”
According to the government
evaluators, each family was supposed to get US$40 000 as compensation.
Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa confirmed that
no monetary compensation had been made to the families so far.
“There are no monetary
compensations that have made as of now, but there have been standard
relocation incentives that have been paid to the households that
were proposed by the government,” Mbetsa said. He added: “The
government did not take into account the property value differentials
and as a result the community members are complaining.”
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