24 September 2015
MUTARE District Administrator demands payment from displaced Arda Transau Villagers
The District Administrator for Mutare District left the impoverished Arda Transau villagers in shock yesterday, 23 September 2015, when he demanded that they pay $100 per family if they want to utilize the 0.5 ha of land offered to the villagers for subsistence farming. Over 1400 families were forcibly evicted from their ancestral homeland of Marange beginning 2010 to pave way for diamond mining activities. The displaced families were promised vast tracts of land before the displacement but government later reneged on this promise. The mining companies, in which government holds 50% shareholding except in Marange Resources in which it has a 100% ownership, have failed to compensate their victims.
Yesterday the DA told villagers ‘the honeymoon is over, the manna has ceased’. He also threatened a woman he accused of working with Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, a community based organization that has for years been the voice of the traumatized community. The DA reportedly warned her that she would die in prison if she continues mobilizing the community to demand redress from the authorities.
Centre for Natural Resources Governance and Chiadzwa Community Development Trust condemns in the strongest terms the unwarranted threats issued by the DA against an innocent woman whose only crime is to demand justice for herself and her community. We further condemn the unjust and grossly unreasonable demand for payment by Mr Cosmas Sigauke from victims of Marange diamond mining. This comes at a time CNRG and CCDT has been calling on the government to address the land shortage at Arda Transau which has created perpetual food insecurity among the displaced families.
We further recommend that the displaced Marange villagers benefit from the land reform program especially given the fact that some people own multiple farms whilst a significant number of the acquired farms are lying idle. We publicly appeal to His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe to intervene and stop the further harassment and victimization of the Marange community. It is our firm view and belief that Mr Sigauke’s actions contradicts the publicly stated government position on land reform.
CNRG and CCDT calls on the displaced families to refuse the demand for payment from Mr Sigauke and continue to utilize the land for their subsistence. Every Zimbabwean has a Right to land! Section 72, subsection 7 of the Zimbabwean Constitution categorically states the following: (a) Under colonial domination the people of Zimbabwe were unjustifiably dispossessed of their land and other resources without compensation; (b) The people consequently took up arms in order to regain their land and political sovereignty, and this ultimately resulted in the Independence of Zimbabwe in 1980; (c) The people of Zimbabwe must be enabled to re-assert their rights and regain ownership of their land.
Consequently Mr Sigauke must not be allowed to reverse the gains of independence.
For further information contact CNRG and CCDT staff at:
Farai: Cell: 0715387417 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rudo: 0773253923 Email email@example.com
Melanie: 0714614036 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the displacement of Arda Transau villagers, a cautionary tale of unfulfilled promises.