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27 Apr 2021

Denise Maheho, RFI

DRC: Mukumbi residents forcibly displaced by Chemaf demand justice

See all tags Allegations

"DRC: Mukumbi residents forcibly displaced by mining company demand justice", April 27 2021

Five years after the destruction of their village by the mining company Chemincol of Africa, Chemaf, the people of Mukumbi are still demanding compensation and relocation. The village was razed to the ground in November 2016 and Chemaf is building its copper and cobalt processing plant there. The NGO "Coalition for the Safeguarding of Human Rights" denounces the violation of the rights of local communities. For its part, Chemaf says it found a compromise with the victims last year...

Among the inhabitants of this village, some have found refuge in other villages around Kolwezi, others live in the fields. For the village chief, the socio-economic situation of his constituents is miserable. "We live in indescribable misery," he laments. "Imagine someone who had a field where he could harvest maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, chili pepper, sell them in order to send his children to school. But today, he sells water, or cleans minerals and can only earn 5,000 francs to feed a family of eight children.

Exacerbated by this misery, the village chief and some residents took legal action last year and asked for compensation. But Chemaf sought an amicable settlement through mediation by the provincial government in Kolwezi. Chemaf disbursed more than a million dollars for this purpose and returned the funds to the provincial government.

Karl Mweze, coordinator of the Coalition for the Safeguarding of Human Rights, which accompanies the mukumbi community, denounces the undervaluation of the victims' property. It requires that the compensation procedure be respected. "Someone we delighted field, market, school... Any means of subsistence and he is given $50 calling it "compensation premium". The remainder received $100 and the ceiling was set at $1,500. What a mockery! That is why we are asking, everyone must be compensated according to the law and this must be followed by relocation," insists Karl Mweze.

In response, Evariste Mazeza, in charge of public relations at Chemaf, said that the mukumbi village case was closed because the company had already paid the compensation premium. For his part, the provincial Minister of the Interior in Kolwezi Déodat Kapenda would not comment indicating that the case was already in court.