Marange villagers threaten demonstration against minister and ZCDC

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MUTARE – Irate villagers in diamond-rich Marange area have threatened massive demonstrations if Minister of State for Manicaland province Ellen Gwardzimba fails to attend a “no holds barred” meeting scheduled for next week.
The villagers were last week enraged after Gwaradzimba failed to
attend a meeting with them and traditional leaders where they wanted
to express their grievances that have been unresolved for a long time.
The annoyed villagers then gave an ultimatum to Gwaradzimba to attend the meeting on 12 July, failure to which thwy will resort to massive demonstrations against the government and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) over the continuous neglect.
The demonstrations are slated for July 26, if Gwaradzimba
fails to meet the villagers.
We have decided to write a letter to Minister Gwaradzimba and the DA
Mr (Wilson) Boore to attend the next meeting on July 12 this year. If
they fail, then we are going to demonstrate against ZCDC because it is
long over due without the company addressing our concerns,
” said
Rodwell Marange who was representing Chief Marange at the meeting last week. Rodwell chaired the meeting.
Some of the traditional leaders who attended the meeting are headmen
Mukwada, Chipindirwe, Chipfatsura and Wendumba.
Village heads Maponde, Marevo and Mushipe were also present at the meeting.
The traditional leaders raised concerns over their welfare, accusing ZCDC of neglecting them. They further alleged that the diamond
mining company was ‘not doing anything’ to ensure that their welfare
was uplifted.
The villagers said they wanted Gwaradzimba present at the meeting so
that they can fully explain to her the ZCDC’s glaring failure to
socially and economically empower them.
We cannot continue talking about the same things every time. We are
being taken for a ride. Who does not know that these people have
completely failed to run Marange diamonds transparently and uphold
human rights abuses,”
said Daniel Chawa a villager.
Farai Maguwu, the Director of Centre for Natural Resource and
Governance (CNRG) said the communities in Marange must not relax, but have to stand up for their cause.
He said: “The Marange community is being taken for granted because
they are not speaking out. The only way of confronting ZCDC is through demonstration.”

Maguwu said the mineral rich Marange should be a city on its own like
Johannesburg.
But unfortunately, it remains the most impoverished village despite
the discovery of precious stones. It is the duty of the Marange
traditional leadership to spearhead demonstrations,
” he added.
Maguwu lashed out at few named individuals within the traditional
leadership and civil society groups, who are selfishly benefitting at
the expense of the community by allegedly receiving kickbacks from
ZCDC.

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