…1500 families face displacement
BY VONGAI KAHWA
Mutoko villagers are up in arms against mining a Chinese company, Shanghai Haoying Mining Investments, which is at the centre of a land grab likely to displace over 1500.
Shanghai Haoying is eying the vast mineral resources in the area and is accused by villagers of turning their homes into mining black granite mining claims without consultation.
The mining claims which the Chinese want to take over cover Karimazondo, Chingamuka, Katsukunya, Musvaire, Goromonzi, Tome and Mashumba villages in Mutoko.
The community is unhappy and has called on government to stop the seizure of their land, with Karimazondo village secretary Shonisani Moyo saying they won’t cede the land of their forefathers.
”We have sacred places (Madzimbahwe) in which rain making ceremonies are made, we have graveyards in which our forefathers were buried and we have sacred rivers which are not allowed to cross, these are sacred places which are meant to protect us therefore if these Chinese are allowed to mine our lives will be affected. We don’t want them in our area,” she said.
Jessica Mavhura who faces eviction from her home and farming land had no kind words saying her livelihood will be affected.
”Personally, I am against the Chinese taking over our ancestral land, black granite mining has been happening in our communities for a long time with no benefit to us, they also have no respect for our culture and they desecrate what is important to us. The takeover will also threaten our way of survival since we are farmers and depend on our fields,” Mavhura said.
Villagers took their councilor Itai Rutsito to task demanding the local authority stops the “land invasion”.
At a meeting held in Karimazondo Village, Rustito said the Chinese had failed to produce permits from either government or council to show they could conduct their operations in the community.
Mutoko is known for its farming with most villagers depending on lead to produce maize, tomatoes, beans, onions, and green paper, which sustains families.
Black granite mining has become a curse for the communities especially as most of the profits are not ploughed back into the communities, while massive land degradation has become a common sight.