By Felix Matasva
HEADMEN Chiadzwa and other 28 villagers were arrested Tuesday after protesting against Chinese diamond mining company, Anjin’s decision to hold a beer ceremony aimed at bringing more diamonds without informing them.
Anjin returned to the gem-rich area in 2019 following a government-forced sabbatical in 2016 and is partnering the Zimbabwean military in extracting the precious stones.
Last Thursday, Marange Villagers launched a protest sparked by Anjin bid to initiate a beer ritual ceremony without consulting them.
The ritual ceremony was aimed at appeasing spirit mediums in order to bring more diamonds.
Manicaland police spokesperson Wiseman Chinyoka refused to comment on the matter on the pretext that he had no finer details.
“Today I am not at work hence do not have finer details. You can get in touch with me tomorrow (Thursday),” he said.
However, Amalgamated Chiadzwa Development Communities Trust (ACDCT) Marange Chapter chairperson Jey Kasakara confirmed the arrests.
Kasakara stated that headmen Chiadzwa and other community-based srganizations leaders were lured to a venue where they were supposed to hold a dialogue meeting with Anjin officials and got arrested on arrival.
“We were told to come for a dialogue meeting with Anjin Investments officials at Mbada offices. Unfortunately, the officials were not available and we l realised that it was a plan to get us arrested. Upon arrival at the venue 29 of us were addressed by inspector of Bambazonge and Mutare Rural Police saying we were under arrest for an unsanctioned demonstration,” he said.
Kasakara told NewZimbabwe.com late night Tuesday that Headmen Chiadzwa and other 28 villagers had been ferried to Mutare Central Police station.
“We are now at Mutare Police Station where we are being locked up in the cells as we await for our case to be heard before the courts,” he said.
A NewZimbabwe.com source confirmed that royal families of Marange, Chiadzwa and Mukwada are at loggerheads over the intended ritual ceremony by Anjin.
“The mining concession is under Headman Chiadzwa but surprisingly Headman Mukwada wanted to preside over the ceremony. Chiadzwa royal family protested that they were not consulted over such a ceremony but Anjin Investments officials were adamant saying they informed Chief Marange. Headmen Chiadzwa and Newman Chiadzwa went on to spill the beer which had been prepared and proceeded to shut down the Chinese Miner’s operations until it addresses its legacy issues,” said the source.
Anjin officials could not respond to questions send by Newzimbabwe.com at the time of going to print.
Marange villagers have been calling for government to halt Anjin from new mining operations in Chiadzwa claiming that it has a ‘dark past’ of human rights abuses.