Uzumba Evictions An Insult To Liberation War Veterans

Opposition MDC Alliance has condemned the eviction of villagers by Chinese owned companies exploring black granite in Mashonaland East, Uzumba area.

Addressing journalists in Harare after a fact finding tour to the affected areas, MDC Alliance secretary for rural mobilisation Happymore Chidziva said the explorations are an insult to veterans of the liberation struggle.

“We unreservedly condemn the planned evictions of indigenous communities. The right to land, heritage and dignity of the people must be respected. This new colonialism offends what our liberators fought for during the liberation struggle. One of the key fights was the fight of entitlement to land.

“Land is at the core of people’s dignity and their right which must be respected. Remember the mwana wevhu (son of the soil) concept.  We take exception to colonial legislation like the mines and minerals Act and the communal lands Act which partly enable these acts. These laws must be repealed and we must enact laws that address our issues and entrench our dignity and aspirations as a people,” said Chidziva.

He said apart from environmental degradation, the mining activities have not developed local communities who are worse off since the coming of Chinese miners.

“We condemn the degradation of the environment and the public health impact of the mining activities especially the mining of black granite. To make matters worse communities are not benefitting from all these commercial activities but maybe Mnangagwa and his regime alone. These displacements concern us because they reflect a pattern of authoritarian conduct by Mr Mnangagwa’s illegitimate regime.

“There are not enough laws in place to protect the communities, central due process is followed and mandate consultation with communities to secure their consent. If there is to be benefit it must accrue communities, there must be shared ownership. If the word ‘displacement’ is necessary due process must has to be followed and the consent of the community has to be secured.

“There must be fair and adequate compensation to reflect their losses, attention must be paid to protect their heritage. The role of the traditional leaders must be respected as they are leaders within their communities. There must be consultations adequately before any mining activity is carried,” he said

Chinese company Heijing reportedly started black granite exploration in 2020 pegging an area covering 300 hectares with a possibility of displacing nearly 12000 people.

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