Zimbabwe: Over 900 families relocated during the Marange diamond rush yet to receive compensation despite court order

Author: Evidence Chenjerai, Global Press Journal (USA), Published on: 17 March 2019

"Desperate for Cash and Without Basic Amenities, Zimbabweans Relocated During Diamond Rush Have Had Enough" 11 March 2019

ARDA TRANSAU, ZIMBABWE — Thickened porridge called sadza with pumpkin leaves as a relish. This is what makes up the daily diet of people in this community, and nothing comes from a private garden. It’s all bought at a local market. It’s a far cry from what they had before they were forced to move here. “I did farming projects all year round and sold some produce, so I never lacked,” says Eneresi Gamunorwa, remembering when she lived in the Chiadzwa area. There, she says, land was arable and water sources were close enough to be useful.

Beginning in 2010, the government pushed families in the mining area to the 12,000-hectare (29,653-acre) Transau farm, presided over by Zimbabwe’s Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). For some families, ARDA Transau, as it is known, sits about 140 kilometers (87 miles) away from the mining area where they once lived. Around 900 people moved in total so far, but life isn’t as it was promised. Homes in ARDA Transau are substandard and water sources aren’t close by, leaving the families to rely on rainwater. If the sky is stingy, their only recourse is to carry buckets of water by hand from a well located about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away from their gardens. Those who relocated were promised irrigation systems for their new land, but never received them.

…Families were promised up to $5,000 in compensation as part of the move, with additional long-term allowances for assets they had to leave behind. Many have only received a $1,000 disturbance allowance, a far cry from what was guaranteed. “I have had enough of the poverty that is here,” says 65-year-old Gamunorwa, adding that she would sell her dilapidated house and leave if she weren’t so old. Many families, desperate for cash, are doing just that.

 

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