Operation Hakudzokwi focuses on women victims

ORGANISERS of this year’s commemorations of Operation Hakudzokwi said they would focus on violence against artisanal women miners in mining concessions countrywide.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Operation Hakudzokwi was a 2008 violent crackdown jointly launched by State security forces to clear the Chiadzwa diamond fields of illegal panners.

Hundreds of artisanal miners were reportedly shot while scores of women were allegedly raped as punishment for illegally entering the diamond fields.

Human rights groups say over 200 people were killed in the diamond fields while thousands were maimed, tortured and brutalised in Marange.

This year’s commemorations will be held on November 10 at Mukwada village in Chiadzwa under the theme Focusing on Violence Against Women. Survivors of the operation will be given a chance to speak publicly about what happened during the operation almost nine years ago and demand justice.

One of the organisers, Centre for Natural Resources Governance director Farai Maguwu said preparations for this year’s event were at an advanced stage.

“Preparations for the third edition of Operation Hakudzokwi are at an advanced stage. We held our first edition in 2014 in Mutare, but we skipped the commemoration in 2015 and we held our second edition in 2016 in Marange, Bambazonke. This year we are expecting hundreds of people to attend the event,’’ he said.

Maguwu added: “This year’s event is critical because it is going to be held in Mukwada village because that is where the five first diamond mining concessions were located before consolidation and many people have a story to tell.

“This year we are focusing on the violence against women. We have many women who are into artisanal mining and when the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company security and police invade the field it’s easy prey for them as women are subjected to many forms of abuse.”

He said other mining communities and stakeholders would also be invited to the event to reflect on injustices facing players in the mining sector.

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