BY KENNETH NYANGANI
DESPERATE Chiadzwa villagers, who are fed up with unfulfilled pledges and neglect by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), have decided to pool resources and start income-generating projects in the community.
Pushed by persistent hunger, the villagers contributed funds to the Bocha Diamonds Development Trust (BDDT) for horticulture, poultry and piggery projects, among others, launched in June this year.
BDDT board chairperson Moses Mukwada recently told NewsDay that they were tired of engaging the diamond miners, who have failed to fulfil their own promises.
“For the meantime, we have stopped engaging the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company because they are failing to attend to our challenges. It seems they are reluctant to assist us. There are legacy issues because as villagers, we were supposed to be assisted in these projects. So starting from 2020, we are not speaking to them and we are now doing our own things,’’ he said.
“The company is even failing to maintain a borehole and the roads are in a bad state. Everything is stuck. There is nothing on community development. So how can we continue to engage them yet it is clear that they do not care about us? We have realised that we need to take action by starting our own projects.”
Added Mukwada: “So these projects that we have started are meant to sustain our livelihoods. We have few resources, through the contribution of funds from the villagers and this has shown dedication. With these contributions we are starting to move on with our lives.”
Since the inception of diamond mining in Marange around 2005, the villagers affected by mining operations were supposed to be compensated and benefit from miners’ corporate social responsibility programmes.
But sadly, infrastructure including roads and water was never developed.
Last week, ZCDC acting chief executive officer Roberto de Pretto said he was shocked by the level of poverty and underdevelopment in Chiadzwa despite being endowed with one of the largest diamond deposits in the world.
De Pretto made the remarks at a stakeholders meeting in Mutare which was hosted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development.
“It is disheartening to walk past Chiadzwa. The area still has no running water and poor roads while children walk long distances to school,” he said
“It is a shock to me that there is no development despite that Chiadzwa fields have one of the largest diamond deposits in the world.”