Involve us in decisions, villagers tell mining firms

Companies setting up mining operations in the country should involve local communities in their decision-making, villagers have said.

Meryline Chiponda
Meryline Chiponda

At a public debate, organised by the Sapes Trust, Chiadzwa Development Trust coordinator Meryline Chiponda said it was surprising that government and its mining partners in Chiadzwa had failed to honour their Share Ownership Trust pledges, while private companies such as Unki and Anglo American had managed to spearhead development projects in Zvishavane.

She said there was no community involvement in the establishment and operation of mines in the country, adding that this had stalled development as communities and mines spent time fighting.

Chiponda said they wanted community driven policies and real development progress. “We should be told how long does it take to do explorations and we should know whether our soil will be useful after mining,” she said.

“In the past, we had transparency in our dealings but literacy rates were very low. Today, even our leaders are no longer transparent but literacy is high.”

A local villager, Gibson Muhwahwa, said it was sad that corruption in the country was being talked about in the press, but the perpetrators were walking away scot-free.

He said the local press had turned a blind eye to issues of national importance and chose to focus on trivial issues. Kris Mwonzora said the country’s leaders couldn’t continue to blame sanctions forever.

Sanctions were a scapegoat, he said, for those looting the country’s natural resources while the majority sank in a sea of poverty.

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