The director for the Centre of Research and Development in Mutare, Farai Maguwu, has said the issue of families relocated from Chiadzwa was a humanitarian case that called for urgent intervention by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Maguwu said there was urgent need to avert impending starvation among the relocated families and to ensure they got plots to farm before hunger set in.
“In my view, the issue of relocation needs a lot of support, not only that the mining companies should honour their obligations, but there is also a humanitarian thrust in that these families are being moved without food and other farming implements,” said Maguwu.
“There is need to avert starvation and NGOs must come to support these people.”
About 44 families were relocated from Chiadzwa to Arda Transaal Farm to pave way for mining companies in the area.
Mutare West MP Shuah Mudiwa and the Kimberley Process local focal point person, Shamiso Mtisi, said when the families were relocated they were given a paltry $1 000 as compensation.
Maguwu said the $1 000 compensation was insignificant adding: “I believe government, the Chiadzwa district administrator and humanitarian agencies should work together and try to avert suffering on the part of the relocated families.
They are trying to cope, but it is very difficult for them because they were only given a place to stay without any source of livelihood.”
The other problem, Maguwu said, was access to clean water as the families had to travel at least 800 metres to get water from a single source.
“When we visited the place we found that the families were queuing for water at one tap owned by a Chinese mining company. They had to walk long distances to get that water,” Maguwu said.
He said there was need for a large water project in the area to avert diseases among the relocated families.
“It is not nice to see women and children in a long queue and walking long distances trying to access water. This kind of arrangement is more suitable for a Stone Age community,” Maguwu said.