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Row as 130 people to be evicted Saturday to make way for diamonds firm
02/12/2016 00:00:00
by Manicaland Correspondent
 
 
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MUTARE: Civil society organisations here have ganged up against the government following its decision to arbitrarily evict 26 families under Chief Marange this Saturday (December 3) to pave way for state owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company.

According to Tinoengana villagers, government is trying to evict them without paying adequate compensation and even evaluating their properties.

Already, some of the villagers who were relocated to Arda Transau in 2011 are still without shelter after some disbanded foreign firms failed to honour their obligation to construct enough decent houses for the evictees.

The District Administrator for Mutare, Edgars Seenza together with Chief Marange, accompanied by heavily armed police officers, recently convened a meeting with the villagers to announce an impending forced and arbitrary eviction by December 3.

But villagers said the visit was a non-event as they were not consulted on the impending evictions.

Against this background, a coalition of civil society groups which include Marange Development Trust, Platform for Youth Development, Centre for Research and Development, Natural Resources Dialogue of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, Transparency International and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association have called for immediate cessation of forced eviction of the identified 26 families (about 130 people).

In a statement which was read by James Mupfumi, the coalition said there should be immediate cessation of threats and intimidation by the District Administrator and state security operatives who are trying to coerce villagers to agree to forced relocations.

“We demand immediate cessation of mining operations in Tinoengana and surrounding villagers by ZCDC pending the following, conducting of an EIA by ZCDC in consultation with the communities, carrying out of independent and transparent evaluation of properties and assets of communities should relocation be one of the agreed options,” said the coalition.

The coalition said should relocation be agreed, there should independent assessment of destination amenities, consistence with livelihood and welfare upliftment for the displaced.  

“We demand due diligence, due process, transparency and accountability in the Marange diamond fields, in compliance with the Zimbabwean constitution founding values of transparency, justice, accountability and responsiveness,” the statement says.



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The coalition said they draw lessons from previous evictions of Chiadzwa communities to Arda Transau in which villagers were duped into accepting relocation with a nominal $1000 disturbance allowances, inadequate food hand-outs, small relocation sites, inadequate housing, inadequate health facilities, schools and clean water.

“While the previous arrangement was conducted in cahoots with foreign owned companies, the current evictions are being driven by Government of Zimbabwe in violation of the constitution,” said the coalition.


 
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