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2 Dec 2021

Felix Matasva, New Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Communities vow not to give up their fight against rights violations, until diamond mining companies operating in the area address their long-standing grievances

“We’ll Won’t Give Up The Fight For Our Rights’: Chiadzwa Family” 26 November 2021

The Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) chairperson Newman Chiadzwa says local villagers won’t give up their fight against rights violations, until diamond mining companies operating in the area, address their long-standing grievances. Headman Robert Chiadzwa, his advisor (Newman), and 26 other villagers were arrested early this month after staging a protest against Chinese diamond mining company Anjin Investments. They were revolting against Anjin’s decision to hold a beer ceremony aimed at finding more diamonds without the Chiadzwa family’s knowledge and blessing. Marange villagers have been calling for the government to halt Anjin from conducting mining operations in Chiadzwa on grounds it has a ‘dark past’ of human rights abuses.

…The CCDT chairperson told NewZimababwe.com that: “If the situation remains unchanged they will end up shooting us or put us behind bars because we are not going to stop asking for what is due to us.” He said it is a fuss that the villagers are being taken as criminals for demanding their socio-economic and cultural rights. “They will rather put us in prison because we are not going to stop fighting until they attend to our grievances. We will keep on pressing for our rights from Anjin Investments. “Anjin was duly registered under the laws of Zimbabwe hence they must operate within the confines of the law. They must show us their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and whom they consulted when applying for it,” Chiadzwa said, adding only a few community members are employed by Anjin Investments.

… “I always convince them that the president is working on our case, but they think I am lying. President Mnangagwa told me in person that poverty was now over, but three years down the line nothing has materialised,” he said. He said the Chiadzwa community is facing severe abuse as Anjin’s operations had destroyed schools and rivers without any compensation. “Anjin never came to Chiadzwa chieftainship to register their mine. To say we are now in the vicinity operating a mine. They destroyed our schools, dams and never set up a new one. They are now using our rivers as slime dams which is a waste from their operations. They have damaged our roads and left the land with gullies,” said Chiadzwa noting villagers are losing livestock due to gullies left by the Chinese diamond miner. He also noted that their community has not yet received a 20% stake from diamond-mining proceeds as promised by Mnangagwa in 2019 during an engagement meeting.