Spirits unhappy?

In a bizarre turn of events, the Diamonds running out story said some of the mining companies were turning to spiritual healers for salvation, believing the depletion of the mineral could be because the local spirits are angry with the manner in which operations are taking place.

Melanie Chiponda
Melanie Chiponda

They have reportedly approached a local chief to help, but no traditional ritual has taken place so far.

The reported drying up of alluvial deposits is bound to offset more misery for the impoverished local communities that remained in the area when other villagers were moved years ago to make way for explorations.

“The mines have told hundreds of villagers that they want them to move so that they can extend their boundaries, but the villagers are resisting because they are aware of the poverty in which those who moved are suffering,” she said.

Families suffer

Hundreds of families were moved to Arda Transau in the same province. Even though they had standard houses built for them, space is not enough for the settlers, and they have been robbed of means of survival, while they are finding it difficult to access health facilities and schools.

Some of the houses at Arda were set up on wetlands, and are often flooded, thereby compromising the health of the families. A good number of the settlers sold their livestock and household property when they were moved, and are now victims of perennial hunger, with widespread malnutrition among their children.

Melanie Chiponda, the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust national coordinator whose organisation fights for the rights of villagers in the diamond mining area, told The Zimbabwean that her organisation had approached several humanitarian organisations to help at Arda.

“The situation at Arda requires urgent attention. There is so much hunger, people are failing to access health services and there is a smell of death in the area. One rights activist recently shed tears listening to the testimonies of one family,” she said.

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