Compiled by Gladys Mavusa-CCDT
A lot of issues are affecting women in general in Chiadzwa Marange area. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the issue of kids not going to school has resulted in the responsibilities of women at home widening as the children will need attention from mothers whilst at home.
This has also affected the working hours of women at home because they want to take care of the kids not going to school by helping with school lessons for them to catch up as they have to write exams this year no matter what. Lack of resources also playing a major role in the reduction of working hours. Girl child’s early pregnancy level has also increased as a result of not going to school. Women will have to take care of the pregnancy as the girls will need guidance during the time of pregnancy. As a result women’s responsibilities are further widened.
COVID-19 has resulted in companies closing and husbands are staying at home full time and this has resulted in the increase in domestic violence and women are always on the receiving end. This issue of not going to work has resulted in the straining of the financial aspect at home. As a result, men, women and kids are flocking the Chiadzwa mining fields to do illegal mining to take care of their financial needs.
This action is life threatening as some are shot at by the company security or dogs are unleashed on them, and some are dying in the tunnels as a hip of soil can fall on them. This has resulted in some getting injured and the financial side is further strained as medical attention is required and money is needed to cover the cost of medication. Some will need to be nursed at home and women by nature take care of that responsibility.
On the issue of accountability and transparency it has been greatly affected by a number of factors.
Illegal mining is rampant in the Chiadzwa mining fields and this has promoted diamond leakage.
The government of Zimbabwe has set a target of reaching a 12-billion-dollar economy by 2023, and this is going to be hard to achieve because diamonds are getting into the wrong hands, hence it does not reach the government coffers.
The companies in Chiadzwa are not remitting anything to Mutare Rural District Council, and this has affected service delivery in Chiadzwa Marange area. The roads are a bad sight and even the government could not provide a ZUPCO bus to provide service along the Chiadzwa road. This has resulted in women and children walking long distances to get where they can find transport.
A trust was formed long back and an announcement was done by the then President Robert Mugabe that funds were poured into the account of Zimunya Marange Development Trust which was meant to take care of developmental needs in the area but the funds got finished before any development was done. Nothing was said on how the money was used, hence the lack of transparency.
The Chiadzwa companies are not forthcoming on their own to improve the lives of the local people even during this COVID-19 era, where sanitizer is not affordable by the Chiadzwa community.
The companies are ignoring the 10 percent to be recruited from the local while promoting local talent. This has resulted in the increase on poverty in the Chiadzwa community.
In general women from Chiadzwa Marange community are not happy as nothing tangible has happened as far as development is concerned. This has negatively impacted us as women from this area as there is no transparency and accountability in the way things are handled here by the government and the companies.