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Villagers sell diamond houses

SYDNEY SAIZE IN MUTARE

Some of the 400 families relocated to Odzi’s Arda Transau Farm are selling off their houses built for them by diamond mining firms that operated in Chiadzwa as they hit hard times, it has emerged.

The houses were built when the villagers were moved from Chiadzwa to pave way for the smooth extraction of the gems.

There were eight companies operating in Chiadzwa, a ward in Mutare District. The companies included Mbada Diamonds Marange Resources, Anjin Investments Diamond Mining Company, Jinan, Rera, Kusena and Gye Nyame.

Villagers told Business Times this week that their situation was dire.

Myness Kusena of the Arda Transau Relocated Development Trust said some of their neighbours had sold off their properties and moved into the nearby Odzi farming communities.

“It’s worrying to see some people selling their houses. We do not know if they got the permission from the government to do so or even the Rural District Council,” Kusena said.

“It is the husbands who are selling the houses leaving their wives and children stranded and with nowhere to stay, and they are squatting in nearby communities where they are building huts to live in.”

Kusena said during their stay in Chiadzwa some villagers used to sustain their families through selling firewood which they cannot do now given the urban set up at Arda Transau.

‘’Many people are finding it hard to adjust to the situation at Arda Transau; this has led to some leaving the area to farms where they can try living as farm labourers,’’ she said.

Kusena said villagers had anticipated getting promised farm lands that are irrigable and starting a new life but it has come to nought.

“Villagers were set to get half a hectare a family that is under irrigation when we were moved to Arda but that has not happened to date,” she said.

The families were relocated to Arda Transau during the peak of diamond mining in Chiadzwa after dwellings were hastily constructed to accommodate the repatriated villagers.

The beneficiaries complained the houses were falling apart due to poor workmanship.

Kusena said members of her trust were bitter they did not have grazing land for their livestock and hence the decision to move out of the area.

Manicaland provincial development coordinator Edgar Seenza said he was unaware some villagers were selling their houses and promised to investigate.

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