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21 Jan 2022

Prestige Muntanga, News Day (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe: Divisions amongst villagers as Chinese firm promises jobs and development if they vacate their land

‘Chinese miner evicts Binga villagers’ 19 January 2022

CHINESE mining company, Monaf Investments has given villagers in Muchesu ward 12, Binga, three months’ notice to vacate their ancestral land after it was granted a permit to extract coal in the area. This is not the first group of Binga villagers to be ordered off their ancestral land to pave way for Chinese coal mining projects. Last year, government flexed its muscles and ordered villagers in Dinde to relocate to allow for a similar project in their area after they had resisted. Binga activist Mujopeni Mudimba confirmed the latest development yesterday.

…Mudimba said the main agenda was preparation for resettlement of those affected and they were given a three-month notice to leave the area. “All this will be done under Phase 1, but Phase 2 will be in two to five years’ time, we will see almost half of the ward being evicted, mostly Zuka village, and this village has two schools. The purpose is to build a power plant and other projects on the site, according to Monaf,” he said. Mudimba said villagers were not happy with the evictions although the company promised to create jobs for the youth in the area.

…“There are divisions among the villagers. Some wanted to resist the project, but since unemployment is a major economic challenge, almost half are in support of the project.” A villager from Muchesu said Monaf was just making empty promises so that they could leave the area. “We have seen a lot of people suffering as a result of these resettlements. It is impossible that this company will build houses for us or create jobs here. We are just going to suffer. It’s hard to leave our land. Things are not being done according to our will. Government does what it desires with our land,” said Simoni Mudenda.