SYDNEY SAIZE RECENTLY IN MARANGE
Villagers from Chiadzwa district, in Manicaland Province have threatened to demonstrate over the continued alienation by the diamond mining companies in their area, it has been learnt.
Several pressure groups including the Bocha Diamond Community Trust (BDCT), Marange Community Development Trust (MCDT) chaired by Marlvern Mudiwa and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT), said it was high time the community was involved.
They said the community has been neglected by the diamond mining companies in beneficiation programmes contrary to earlier promises of getting some fringe benefits from the extractions of the precious stones.
There are two companies mining diamonds, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and a Chinese firm Anjin Investments.
“There is no going back on this issue. We are just waiting for a dialogue with the Manicaland Provincial Affair and Devolution Minister (Nonkuthula Matsikenyere) and hear what she has to promise or offer us,” Moses Mkwada, chairperson of the BDCT said.
He said the pressure groups were of the view that they have to embark in continuous peaceful demonstrations and “we will only return to our homes when we get a better deal”.
“They (authorities) have to be prepared to be facing us daily. The police should also be prepared to chase after the community daily. I see that this is the right time to do it and we need support from other community based organisations. The demonstration should be well coordinated and organised to ensure our people are not victimised, arrested and harassed,” Mkwada said.
The extractive sector activist organisations such as the Centre for Research (CRD) and Development and the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) have equally shared the same sentiments in support of the plight of the affected communities. James Mupfumi of the CRD said community mobilisation was paramount to have the outstanding issues addressed.
“The communities need to be very vigilant in their cause, as the situation is sad. In wards 29 and 30 they cannot do any meaningful business as they are protected areas but they still need to survive, yet they are not benefitting from the resources they have.
“If we look at Botswana there are towns in areas where diamonds are extracted, look at Orapa town. But, in Marange there is absolutely nothing to show of the gems being mined daily,” Mupfumi said.
Centre for Natural Resources and Governance executive director Farai Maguwu said the government was buying time and villagers being promised of benefits which will never come.The communities have been kept on the edge for a long time, he said.
“It’s time for the community to unite and voice their concerns and as for dialogue it seems it won’t produce much the desired results. If the community may engage in peaceful demonstrations that might work,” Maguwu said.
Efforts to get a comment from ZCDC and Anjin Investments were futile.