‘Land is at the core of people’s dignity and their rights must be respected’

Displacements … The MDC Alliance has criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inaction after communities in Mutoko and Uzumba evicted to make way for Chinese miners
HARARE – Foreign puppet Emmerson Mnangagwa was accused of abetting a “new colonialism” by the MDC Alliance on Thursday over reports that Chinese miners are evicting entire villages in Mutoko and Uzumba in search of black granite.

Chinese companies Heijin Mining and Shanghai Haoying are accused of displacing hundreds of people from their ancestral lands after obtaining special mining grants from the government.

“This new colonialism offends what our liberators fought for during the liberation struggle. One of the key fights was entitlement to land,” MDC Alliance secretary for rural mobilisation Cde Happymore Chidziva told a news conference.

“Land is at the core of people’s dignity and their rights must be respected. The message from the communities is that Mnangagwa and the local Zanu PF leadership have sold out our land and country to the Chinese.”

Mutoko and Uzumba are Zanu PF heartlands, and the MDC Alliance is sensing it has found a chink in the ruling party’s armour after sending a delegation to the two districts in Mashonaland East province.

Said Cde Chidziva: “The delegation made the following findings in Uzumba: the Chinese company Heijin Mining started exploration in 2020 and pegged areas which cover a total of 300 hectares of communal lands and could possibly displace nearly 12,000 people.

“Affected villagers were informed of these developments a year after the arrival of the Chinese company. They were also informed that the majority of them would be displaced and should seek alternative settlement from their traditional leaders.

“In Mutoko, the Chinese company started exploration in 2020 and pegged areas to be mined which covers 170 hectares of communal lands. The affected community had not been formally informed of these developments in total disregard of the communities, their right to information, right to dignity and right to be heard.”

Cde Chidziva said “colonial legislation” like the Mines and Minerals Act and the Communal Lands Act partly enabled the displacement of the villagers.

“These laws must be repealed and instead we must have laws that speak to our issues and entrench our dignity and aspirations as a people. These displacements concern us because they reflect a pattern of authoritarian conduct by Mnangagwa’s illegitimate regime,” he added.


Hard hats area … Chinese miners have displaced communities in Mutoko and Uzumba as they blast for black granite
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, also speaking at the news conference, said Zanu PF was “siding with the big Chinese corporations and the MDC alliance is siding with the communities that are vulnerable, that are powerless, that stand to lose their land, their heritage, their cultural sites, their burial step sites and their livelihoods.”

She charged: “Entire ecosystems of survival are being disrupted wantonly as no alternative place to move to or compensation has been put in place.

“Section 71 of the constitution is very clear that when there is a forced dispossession, due process consultation and compensation are key aspects to these but these have all been violated which is something I’m sure will be taken up to the courts.”

Source – ZimLive