More than 30 000 communal people face eviction to pave way for new mining initiatives – CNRG

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By Anna Chibamu

An estimated 30 000 people in six communities countrywide are set to be displaced to pave way for new mining initiatives without compensation, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance has said.

CNRG director Farai Maguwu told an extractive industries transparency initiatives in Zimbabwe dialogue Monday, that communities in Masvingo, Marange-Kusena area, Chimanimani, Dotito and Chihota areas have been notified of the impending evictions.

“We have seen people in six areas given notice that they will be moved to Gokwe. We estimate that 30 000 people are going to be displaced from six or more communities that we have interacted with but I tell you that many more communities are likely to be displaced,” said Maguwu.

The CNRG director accused government of failure to prepare the people for eviction in terms of compensation and giving adequate information on when the movements will take place.

“Interestingly, these people are being told they will be moved to Gokwe. It is a rampant problem and government is not going out to the people to talk to them about the developments. Even discussing about compensation or alternative places where they are going to send them.

“This is very strange that people have to be moved from one province to another in the same country because they (government) want to pave way for mining. We fear that we are going to have a lot of internally displaced persons. We also have a problem with the involvement of the military and the whole security apparatus enforcing these displacements,” Maguwu added.

According to Maguwu, the whole issue is also heavily politicised.

“District administrators are allegedly going on the ground telling traditional leaders that government has given land to a certain company which is coming to mine. So you have to be prepared to move.

“People have a constitutional right not to be moved by anyone to anywhere. We are doing capacity building workshops and bringing in lawyers to speak to them about the law,” said Maguwu.

“We are also mobilising people to protest against this land grabbing by government officials. We fear that Zimbabwe is going back to the 1890s when the British came in and took our ancestors off their land.”