Army still in Chiadzwa

The government of Zimbabwe has maintained a strong military presence in Marange despite litigation from human rights groups like the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association way back in 2010.

Responding to questions at a media training workshop ZELA Head of Research and Publication, Shamiso Mtisi, told participants the matter was still pending.

“In 2010 we went to court to demand the withdrawal of the army from Marange after numerous reports of human rights abuses. We had requested the judiciary to compel government to provide social services and compensation for the community before they were moved from the mining fields,” Mtisi said.

He said their application though thrown out on the basis that it was not urgent it brought into focus the plight of the Marange people and houses were built before people were moved.

“We have assisted the people of Chiadzwa with the formation of the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust which in turn has brought litigation against the government and companies in the area in relation to relocations.

“I am happy to say that CCDT is now recognised by both government and mining companies, and Parliament has invited its input on the diamond policy,” said Mtisi.

The refusal by government to withdraw the army despite numerous complaints and mining companies now having their own security arrangements has been condemned by villagers.

“I am a resident of Chiadzwa and was born in the area, but there is so much security you would think we are in a state of war.

“We still need permits to drive around even for personal and social business, while gatherings are very hard to organize, there is still the pending issue of one Tsorosai who was killed by a senior police officer that’s yet to go to trial,” said Malvern Mudiwa.

He said another case is of a family that was mauled by police dogs at their homestead and nothing has happened to the officers.

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