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Villagers say relocation is safety from abuse

They were moved to Arda Transua Estate, about 100 kilometres from Chiadzwa in Marange district. The estate is a few kilometres from the city of Mutare.

The villagers said life in Chiadzwa and surrounding areas had become a nightmare as they faced constant abuse from security agents.
However, security agents and representatives of companies mining in Marange dismissed allegations of human rights abuses.

“That place was no longer safe, especially for our children who were frequently harassed and beaten up by soldiers,” 46-year-old Chipo Nyangani said.
“Some of our children now have permanent scars to tell the story of our lives at that place.”

She added: “Everyday, I would ponder on what to do for my children to be safe but had no choice except to watch and endure like everyone else.”
The Nyangani family is among those who have been relocated to Arda Transau Estate to pave way for mining operations in Marange.

Four companies operating in Marange have built about 700 standard homes at the estate to accommodate villagers affected by their operations.

Anjin Investments said it had constructed 474 houses and allocated them to 90% of families affected by its operations while Marange Resources has built 104 houses and successfully moved 42 families.

Another mining firm, Mbada Diamond Mining (Pvt) Limited, said it had allocated over 100 houses while Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) is reported to have constructed 21 houses.

The villagers were resettled on one hectare plots, each consisting of a four-roomed house, one round and thatched kitchen, and a toilet. Chiefs and village heads have five-roomed houses.

Anjin has also allocated half hectare plots to 484 villagers for use as farmland while other companies said they will soon embark on a similar programme.
In the meantime, the companies supply the families with foodstuffs and will continue to do so until they harvest. Each family was also given US$1 000 disturbance allowance while negotiations for compensation allowances are said to be underway.

Homesteads built by Anjin are supplied with tape water drawn from the nearby Odzi River while other companies sunk boreholes.
The Anjin section is however, the dark-city of the estate while houses built by other companies are solar powered.

The latter claim each homestead cost more than US$50 000 because of the solar installations.

“Personally, I am happy with the structures as they are an improvement from the homestead I had in Chiadzwa,” Nyangani said.

“But I am still trying to see how best I can fend for my four children because in Chiadzwa, I grew vegetables to sale at Nyanyadzi.

“I hope to revive that business once they allocate us the fields. Although the weather conditions do not seem to be different from Chiadzwa, I hope for more business here since we are closer to town (Mutare).”

 

Relocation affecting schoolchildren

 

Sixteen-year-old Jaison Tsvarai, who is in Form Two at Odzi Secondary School, complained that the school was too far from home.
His former school, Chiadzwa Secondary, was closer to home.

Other parents also expressed concern that Wellington Primary School, which caters for children living at homesteads constructed by Mbada Diamond and Marange Resources, had no Grade Seven classes, forcing affected pupils to travel a long distance and cross a railway line to the nearest school in Odzi.

“All those issues are being looked into,” Mbada Diamond Media Consultant Ignatius Mazura said.

“Marange Resources are constructing a clinic to improve access to health facilities while Mbada refurbished the school and will soon construct 20 more classrooms.”

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