HUNDREDS of Marange villagers who were recently relocated to Arda Transau to pave way for diamond mining activities in the area have been subjected to new forms of poverty, a local non-governmental organisation has claimed.
In a report titled Marange Relocation Leads to New Poverty released last week, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) also blamed diamond miners in Chiadzwa for neglecting the displaced villagers.
The relocation process is still in progress with more than 4 000 people yet to be moved from the mining sites.
The companies have so far built four-roomed houses and a thatched kitchen for each of the affected families in a semi-urban settlement on Transau.
During the relocation, villagers were reportedly promised a small piece of land under irrigation, food, adequate school and health facilities.
According to CNRG, more needed to be done to avert poverty among the relocated people.
“Observed from afar, the new Arda Transau settlement portrays an aura of sophistication and affluence as it looks like a small urban settlement in the middle of nowhere,” the report reads.
“But behind this façade of affluence lies a community weighed down by the bondage of poverty and hunger.
“Besides the seemingly opulent houses which from afar mask the real picture of the life of relocated villagers, the villagers have nothing to show for having once lived on top of arguably one of the richest alluvial diamond reserves in the world,” the report added.
The non-governmental organisation urged the mining companies to initiate income-generating projects for the affected villagers to enable them to supplement their livelihoods.
“The call now is for mining companies to invest financially in the welfare of the relocated people whilst the government has an additional duty to ensure that its citizens are treated with dignity.
“Thus government has a dual responsibility and obligation to the Marange community, including the displaced families: first, as partner in the joint venture corporations government must ensure that profits generated from the sale of Marange diamonds contribute to the welfare of the community, especially the displaced ones.
“More importantly, a people-centred government cannot ignore while wholesale communities, including women and children, are uprooted from their secure homes and dumped into destitution and abject poverty,” CNRG said.