Marange mostly preferred to benefits, focus on host communities
Unfolding events concerning community benefits from the extraction of Marange diamonds are a cause of concern to mining impacted communities of Chimanimani, Buhera and Chipinge. The main cause of this concern is that focus is on host community, Marange, whereas mining impacted communities seem peripheral.
Mining impacted areas like Hot springs, Gudyanga, Tonhorai, Maunganidze, Goko, Musee and Mangwadza are suffering the pain. Water pollution, loss of cattle, teenage pregnancies, drugs, violence, STI, HIV and AIDS have become the talk of the day. A case in point is of Mrs Karenyi who had a herd of about 70 cattle but now is left with only seven. Polluted water was t
through a laboratory test and found not suitable for both human and livestock consumption.
Several schools were destroyed in Chiadzwa and victims of this destruction are attending schools in Chimanimani, Chipinge and Buhera, causing overpopulation and leading to a sudden decline in quality education. The mining companies used to sponsor the minority group at hot springs secondary but later they withdrew the funding, leaving a debt in respect of their fees. Clinics and roads have been rehabilitated in some areas of Chiadzwa but nothing as yet in terms of visible and tangible development has been done in Chipinge, Chimanimani and Buhera, hence on the periphery of benefiting from the mining activities
Consideration of host community in benefit sharing schemes from the extraction of Marange diamonds should extend beyond host mining communities to include mining affected communities. This entails that the boundaries of the Community Share Ownership Trust hinged on Marange diamond mining activities must be stretched to cover also Buhera, Chipenge,Chimanimani. Likewise local employment opportunities, corporate social investments, community enterprise development opportunities should accrue to mining impacted communities. As such, ZCDC should engage SOCNET in addition to other CBOS from Marange on mining issues affecting communities like employment, corporate social responsibility issue and development of infrastructure
I therefore recommend that
• ZCDC should consider the plight of other communities not only host communities
• SOCNET a CBO just like MDT, CCDT and Bocha should also be included in engagement meetings organised by ZCDC.
• Zimunya Marange Community Share Ownership Trust should take inclusive of communities covered by SOCNET.
• Corporate Social Responsibility issues should also be extended to surrounding affected communities not only to host community.
By Gibson Muhwahwa, Save Odzi Community network trust (SOCNET)