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Chiadzwa villagers defiant

VILLAGERS in the diamond-rich Chiadzwa area have collectively resisted relocation to Arda Transau Resettlement Area, demanding a minimum of US$50 000 each as compensation before they move.

The villagers have vowed to stay put until the resolution of other issues, which include the construction of permanent structures for them at Arda Transau, proper reburial of their relatives, employment creation for their children and security at the relocated area, are put in place.
The 44 villagers, who were supposed to have been relocated last week to make way for the three diamond mining companies — Canadile, Mbada and Anjin — still remain at their homesteads insisting that they would not move until their demands are met.
Mutare West MP Shua Mudiwa confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that villagers want compensation first before they are relocated.
Mudiwa said: “I am aware of the failed attempt of the relocation of Chiadzwa people. The villagers from Chiadzwa are demanding that  before they are relocated they are given compensation.”
“They are not resisting relocation, but  from the experience of the first 14 families that were relocated to Arda, the villagers feel that the government and mining companies still have a lot to do before they are relocated.”
The MP said last week a truck that had gone to collect their belongings left empty because people refused to go until their demands were met.
Acting president of Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (CCDT) Malvern Mudiwa said the villagers were demanding a minimum of US$50 000 each as compensation.
“They do not want to be put in a temporary location, instead they want permanent houses to be ready for them, which reflects their normal life and not city life that they can’t afford,” Mudiwa said. “They have also demanded tight security where they would be relocated because they have learnt from other villagers in Chiadzwa that they have lost their goats.”
He said the Trust had approached the District Administrator (DA)’s office with the hope of getting their concerns heard. However, Mudiwa said this fell on deaf ears.
Efforts to get a comment from the DA’s office over the past fortnight were fruitless.
Chiadzwa villagers have constantly complained about the lack of proper and genuine consultation by government on relocation and compensation.
Last month at a mining accountability and transparency conference held in Harare, Chiadzwa community representative Lovemore Mukwada said: “We are very prepared to be relocated, but what we are looking at from whoever is responsible for relocation is dialogue, transparency, partnership, consideration of human rights and those rights which go hand in hand with relocation. We want our relocation to resemble a rural relocation that is where we were born and bred.”
Chikwada said villagers were demanding infrastructure development in Chiadzwa, particularly Chiadzwa-Matongo road, Marange–Matongo road, Mutsago-Marange via Buwerimwe, and Rombe via Karirwi road, among others.


Wongai Zhangazha

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