Resource-rich Chivi demands greater say in extraction

EnviroPress Reporter

Residents of Chivi have demanded equitable approaches in the extraction of natural resources in the district, saying ordinary people must be allowed to enjoy the right to determine the pace of community development.

In 2021, the gold and diamond-rich Chivi eventually managed to get Murowa Diamonds out of the Sese the communal lands after the three-year-long struggle.

The company had come and imposed itself onto the community riding on the blessing of then Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Josaya Hungwe who reportedly had strong links to company directors.

Sese community spokesperson Musiiwa Musiiwa told EnviroPress that they were not against mining if it is preceded by democratic engagement for mutual benefit.

“Resources in Chivi are ours and should benefit the locals too. There are a host of problems in Chivi among them climate change which affects food security in communities. Those mineral resources must therefore be exploited in a transparent manner so that communities can adapt,” said Musiiwa.

The community managed to send Murowa Diamonds Company packing after three years of ‘exploration’ which left a trail of environmental degradation.

Some locals allege the long exploration drive was nothing short of concealed extraction designed to dupe tax authorities and avoid accountability.

Murowa Diamonds, on their part, said they would come back and continue with their exploratory work once they get community buy-in.

The company’s vice president human resources and administration Islam Chipango said they would only come back once the community is on their side.

“There were clashes with the community and we decided to leave while we pursue consultations and engagements. It is our hope to help the community we work in but it must be noted that we were still in the exploration stages of our operations,” said Chipango.

Chivi Central Member of Parliament (MP) Ephraim Gwanongodza told EnviroPress that mining companies should widely consult local stakeholders before moving machinery to avoid conflicts.

“The people feel entitled to their resources and will not take lightly outsiders who come simply to grab resources and leave.

“Mining is capital-intensive and most locals lack the means to establish their own viable ventures but that should not be used to discount their right to determine the course of events in their own localities.

“Mining companies must sit down with the communities and make sure that they work together and find common ground,” said Gwanongodza.

This project was made possible through a partnership with the Southern Africa Trust. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent that of the Trust or its associates.