By Shingirai Vambe
28 Chiadzwa residents arrested on public violence for demonstrating against a Chinese diamond mining company were Thursday freed on ZWL $3000 each.
They were not asked to plead when they appeared before Magistrate Langton Mukwengi.
Prominent among the accused persons are headman Robert Chiadzwa (90) and Newman Chiadzwa who both previously worked well and allowed mining companies to go on with their operations in diamond mining field.
The accused persons reportedly demonstrated at Anjin diamond company for failure to meet with its obligation as investors.
They are expected to appear again in court on November 22 2021, Passmore Nyakureba instructed by Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA), Cosmas Chibaya and Blessward Mungure instructed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) are representing the 28.
Relations between the community and diamond mining companies have been increasingly under strain as communities agitate for religious payment of 10% of their proceeds to the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust and demand prioritization of employment of locals, development and rehabilitation of infrastructure among other social cooperate responsibility activities.
Their arrest came as a shock to many.
Farai Maguwu of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance told Post on Sunday that, activities in Marange have been politicized and this has not only affected Marange but the whole nation which is rich with more than 50 minerals.
“There is need for a top-bottom approach in the mining sector where the leadership should address issues affecting communities with mineral deposits” said Maguwu.
Maguwu added, mining activities being done y these foreign companies have a long term effect to the environment, cultural norms and beliefs.
“Activities in the mining sector should look at community equity, plugging of illegal flows of finances and ecological disasters which are also contributing to climate change” he said.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, Edmond Mukaratirwa told this publication that as Parliament they have always highlighted the need to discuss issues and the need for dialogue.
Our position through and through as a committee is to have dialogue fore co-existence. We have to break the impasse and the capital interests must survive together with the social interests. We have been there and we cant continue doing the same thing and expect different results, we should find a way out of this and organizational cultures must also change said Mukaratirwa.
Meanwhile, MDC T president Douglas Mwonzora is representing the men arrested for illegal possession of two pangolins.
Givemore Sigauke (40) and Dudzai Njobo (49) arrested while allegedly trying to sell them on August 11, 2021
Mwonzora applied for discharge of the two arguing that the evidence by the two police officers failed to corroborate and falls short of proving that the duo committed the crime.
Ruling for discharge is expected on November 10 2021.
Langton Mukwengi is presiding over the case.