MAC: Mines and Communities

Zimbabwe: Miners disrespect culture

Published by MAC on 2012-04-18
Source: News Day, SW Radio Africa (2012-04-09)

MAC editorial group, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela), claims  miners are disrespecting the cultures of communities in which they operate.

The culprits include Chinese, Russians and Lebanese nationals who, according to traditional leaders, "displace the villagers and pollute their environment".

Miners disrespect culture

By Ronald Moyo

News Day

9 April 2012

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has accused miners of disrespecting cultures of communities they are operating in resulting in, traditional chiefs attributing that to low rainfall.

Speaking at a workshop in Harare, Zela legal officer Veronica Zano said some traditional leaders were furious over how foreign miners were violating their cultures.

"Traditional leaders say these miners are violating cultural rights during operations in their communities. These miners include the Chinese, Russians and Lebanese. They come into communities, displace the villagers and pollute their environment. Villagers are suffering," she said.

"Some are now attributing the lack of rainfall to the violation of their cultural rights. They argue their ancestors are not happy because of the disrespect of their rights since they stay in a rich land, but are not benefiting from their ancestral land resources."

Zela projects co-ordinator Gilbert Makore also said the mining sector was not growing as much as it could be due to the country's archaic mining laws.

"The mining sector is still governed by archaic laws that are restricting the growth of this sector," Makore said. "They have no provisions regarding community rights, environmental rights and general transparency."

Makore said Zela was engaging the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on mining for the review of mining laws.

The government recently announced it will finalise the long-awaited Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill when Parliament resumes sitting, while the promulgation of a diamonds policy will be completed in the second half of the year.

Zimbabwe: Is It Lawful for Chiadzwa Mining Companies to Deny Villagers a Voice?

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri

SW Radio Africa (London)

3 April 2012

Reports that vicious dogs may have been used to frustrate efforts by MPs to conduct a hearing with villagers affected by Chiadzwa diamond mining are very disturbing and deserve an urgent investigation.

Some of the MPs who toured the Chiadzwa diamond-rich area last week said they were disappointed that despite the fact that they were scheduled to meet the affected Chiadzwa communities, the villagers were too scared to leave their homes and meet them because of fierce dogs that had been unleashed by mining security guards around their homes.

"There were a lot of fierce dogs roaming around the area and people were scared to even come out of their houses," Shuwa Mudiwa, MDC-T's MP for Mutare West said.

Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy which was investigating companies mining diamonds in Marange about corporate social responsibility and the relocation of the villagers were astounded by the "tight security" in the villages.

"Security was so tight. We were given a convoy of cars about two to three kilometres long to accompany us," Moses Mare, MDCT MP for Chiredzi West said.

Because of the unleashed dogs, not even a single person could be seen walking outside their homes at Arda Transau Farm where about 600 households were relocated without fair compensation.

In view of the unprecedented deployment of vicious dogs in Chiadzwa villages during the MPs tour, it is safe to argue that there was something the mining companies did not want the villagers to alert the MPs about.

There have been continued reports from Chiadzwa about ongoing human rights abuses and un-kept promises of fair compensation as well as environmental degradation attributed to the mining operations.

Some of the diamond mining companies at Chiadzwa were banned by the U.S. and the European Union from selling their diamonds due to their links with banned individuals and the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) which is on the sanctions list.

Is it lawful for Chiadzwa mining companies to deny villagers a voice to a public hearing while the same companies claim to uphold corporate social responsibility principles?

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