Chinese miners, soldiers evict Chiadzwa villagers

Compensation denied, armed cops move in
farai_maguwu_promisesODZI - Controversial Chinese mining company Anjin has had help from Zanu (PF) soldiers to forcibly evict the remaining 40 families in Chiadzwa diamond fields who are demanding compensation. (Pictured: Farai Maguwu)

Households are demanding $50,000 before they are moved to ARDA Transau in the Odzi area. Malvern Mudiwa, Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) chairman which fights for the rights for people in region confirmed the families, had agreed not to be moved before receiving their compensation in full.

“We have always been saying people from Chiadzwa should benefit, Mudiwa said. The compensation money will be used to buy shares in the companies that are mining the precious gems so that the Chiadzwa community fully benefit.

We have been talking with the government and the companies that are mining diamonds that families want to get their full compensation before leaving the Chiadzwa area.”

But Anjin management have refused to release the funds and have instead started intimidating the villagers. Armed soldiers and police have begun to force the families to vacate the area to pave way for mining the precious gems. Traditional leaders in the area have told Manicalands illegal governor, Chris Mushowe, they were not happy with the evictions.

One traditional leader said: We are totally against this whole idea (relocation). Our ancestors are against that. I do not see the wisdom of removing people from their ancestral soil. We have tabled this before with Mushowe and senior Zanu (PF) officials but they do not want to (hear) from us.

Some top chefs have threatened us with unspecified action if we continue to resist the eviction. Some traditional leaders here have been accused of being MDC-T supporters and we are under a severe political spotlight.” Political analysts said the forced evictions would have an impact on Zanu (PF)’s political capital with villagers, informing Mushowe he will never win in the Mutare West constituency again.

Shuar Mudiwa (MDC-T) convincingly beat Mushowe in the last 2008 March harmonized elections. “We have been negotiating to get claims, but it looks like all the claims have been finished, Mudiwa said. Our aim as a trust is to negotiate with the companies mining there to let the villagers buy shares so that they also become part of it as well. Farai Maguwu the director of Centre for Research and Development (CRD), an NGO which examines human rights abuses in the Chiadzwa area said the $50,000 compensation is justified.

“It’s very much justified and it’s also in tandem with the UN habitat minimum standards for relocation, Maguwu said. First there must be prior concern for the people to be moved, secondly there must be adequate preparation in the relocation site before people are moved and thirdly there must be compensation because normal life is disrupted when people are being moved and cultural values are being violated. He said the families also needed to have their people reburied and the cultural dislocation must be compensated for by the miners.

“There is also infrastructure that has been developed by these families over the years and there is disruption to health, education, agriculture and many other basic necessities of life, Maguwu said. About 20 families have been moved from Chiadzwa to ARDA Transau and they were paid about $1,000 per household.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *