PRESSURE groups, which have been monitoring and documenting gross human rights abuses in Marange since the discovery of diamonds, have engaged the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Mining Company (ZCDC) this week, in a move aimed at averting another diamond-related human rights disaster in Tsvingwe, near Penhalonga, the Zimbabwe Independent has heard.
By Elias Mambo
This news article is part of an ongoing investigation into the Marange alluvial diamonds discovery and subsequent plunder at various stages by state and non-state actors. The special series is supported by the Investigative Journalism Fund.
Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) director Farai Maguwu and Marange Development Trust (MDT) trustee and director Malvern Mudiwa have engaged ZCDC to prevent a looming disaster where thousands of people may be displaced in Tsvingwe.
As reported by this newspaper a fortnight ago, ZCDC engineers have been deployed for exploration of diamonds in Tsvingwe and chances are that thousands of people may be displaced to allow for mining operations.
In an interview, Mudiwa said his organisation will do everything at its disposal to make sure that thousands of people are not left homeless to allow mining operations to take place.
“We have written to ZCDC to seek clarification on the issue of the people who are facing relocation,” Mudiwa said.
“This is very crucial because we learnt from the Chiadzwa experiences where more than 10 000 people were displaced with only less than 500 being relocated at Arda Transau.
“We now want ZCDC to provide a solution on how and where they will relocate the people,” Mudiwa said, adding: “We can only allow mining operations to take place after every family is relocated and compensated.”
He said the Chiadzwa experience taught them a good lesson because government displaced people and promised to relocate them but mining companies failed to deliver on their promises.
In Chiadzwa, thousands of villagers were evicted and promised compensation, but only a few got houses in Arda Transau while the rest are still wallowing in poverty.
Before the forced evictions in Chiadzwa, government deployed armed soldiers and security details who committed gross human rights violations as they forcibly removed villagers and panners from the area.
As reported by this paper at the time, Chiadzwa villagers were taken by surprise because they thought negotiations with government were going on in earnest until they woke up one morning with armed soldiers having sealed off the area.
Unbeknown to the panners, anti-riot police details from the Police Support Unit had arrived in large numbers. They had sealed the mountain and were just waiting for the order to start a massive operation to clear thousands of illegal miners from Marange.
Mudiwa said: “This time we are not dealing with various mining companies so the war will not be as complicated as the Chiadzwa one.”