Community call for respect of human rights.

The Protected Places and Areas Act crippled Marange.

Community call for respect of human rights.

It is not a lie that Marange falls under The Protected Places and Areas Act Chapter 11:12 of 1959. An Act of Zimbabwe to make provision for the control of entry of persons into certain places, for the protection of certain premises and for the control of the movement and conduct of persons within certain areas. Nearly ten thousand people are living in the diamond mining protected area and are restricted their movement with the repressive legacy of the settler colonial state.

Whilst the rest of Zimbabweans in mining protected areas are enjoying their constitutional rights in Mukwada and Chiadzwa due to the authorization of pass cards and permits communities are not.

Motorists are required to get permits at Murahwa Building in Mutare about 90 to 100 kilometres from the mining community. Although the communities are obtaining the permits at no cost they need US$10 to US$20 travel without a vehicle and US$30 to US$50 with the vehicle to Mutare at every month to get a pass. Failure to renew the permit the vehicle will be impounded and fined US$20 to $50 at a local police station.
Motorists have been put on the horns of a dilemma. As accordind to Mr Kusena a motorist in ward 29, he said the measures for protection of protected places or areas is too heavy and unbearable to a rural, remote and marginalised community. “It’s either you park the car, sale or travel without the pass and get arrested. Residents are forced to pay US$1 to US$2 to police officers at road blocks each time they without a pass and this is unfair and unconstitutional. The Act has been a bloody and painful one for Marange and its repressive effects are continuous.
It is disheartening to note that diamond dealers who infested the diamond mining community are enjoying their ride and not holding and carrying permits whilst to communities it is non living without.
The communities are not against the permits and passes but saying the act is heavily flawed in terms of human rights protection. The Zimbabwe Republic Police must localize the issuing offices, say at Bambazonke Police Station or the police diamond base station in the mine.
The government must also increase the life span of the permit to at least six to twelve months.

Whilst the president is preaching Zimbabwe is open for business in Marange there is no easy way of doing business. The Act had totally closed the entrance. Recently Mutare Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer Mr Chinaka said council is not allowed to approve business stands in ward 29 and ward 30 because of the declaration to be protected areas. Community members who have acquired business stands are forbidden to develop them and applications for new business stands turned down. The company is building and upgrading local schools whilst denying residents easy way of doing business. The government needs to come out with a successor Act which offer communities business opportunities whilst promoting and advancing human rights.

Section 77 of the Constitution makes an emphasis on the right to food and water. It states that every person has the right to safe, clean and potable water. In Betera village Mr Mudiwa was denied sinking a borehole on the land. In Chirasika village Anjin a Chinese diamond mining company had dismantled a community borehole without a court order. They went on to fence a new borehole they had sunk. The villagers were left with no option but to travel 3 kilometers to Odzi river and nearest water points. The state which is supposed to take reasonable measures for the progressive realization of the right to water is taking legislative measures, the repressive act, against the provision of water. The state is denying citizens the right to water.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights states that it is the duty of the government and business to respect, protect and promote human rights in mining affected communities. In Marange due to the Protected Places and Areas Act community entitlements are not reinforced. Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company must start address human rights impacts and the government domesticate the UNGP on Business and Human Rights whilst realigning the Act of 1950

Josphat Makaza.
Chiadzwa Community Development Trust CCDT
Community monitor.

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