Mutare West legislator Shuah Mudiwa has called on companies mining diamonds in Chiadzwa to compensate all families targeted for relocation and fully engage the community before moving them from their ancestral homes.
Mudiwa said it was high time diamond mining companies and the local government authority in the area realised that they were not dealing with “dam construction” issues dealing with diamond mining, which is an economically viable mineral.
Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners secured concessions to extract and sell diamonds from Chiadzwa.
“We want compensation from the companies extracting diamonds in Chiadzwa because they are not dealing with dam construction, but diamonds,” said Mudiwa. “The companies are obliged to compensate these families before they are relocated and a lot of social issues should be discussed with the community before they are moved.”
Mudiwa said culture was a very sensitive issue and the companies mining in Chiadzwa should meet with chiefs, the local legislator, district administrator (DA), the community leadership as well as government to discuss the relocation issue.
“There are sensitive cultural issues such as grave sites. The community needs to know what will happen to the graves of their ancestors before they are moved to another place. People do not want the Smith regime style of relocation, where they would simply order the DA to forcefully evict people without considering their concerns,” said Mudiwa.
He said the affected families were not resisting relocation, but simply wanted to be engaged so that they could be given disturbance allowances because moving people to a new place would completely change their lifestyle.
“The temporary shelters that have been built at Transau Farm are not suitable for big families. This results in brothers having to share rooms with their sisters and that is not good,” Mudiwa said.
He continued: “The community has schoolchildren in Grade Seven, Form Two, and Form Four that are due to write public examinations and the question of how they are going to manage their school programmes has not been considered.”
Mudiwa said people farming in Chiadzwa abandoned their fields last year after being notified that they would be evicted raising fears that there might be food insecurity in the area this season.
He said firms should also employ the community in their mines and even consider qualified youths from Chiadzwa for scholarships at the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre.
The MP said the companies extracting diamonds in Marange should be more serious in their corporate social responsibility programmes because the road they built in the area was only benefiting the firms themselves.