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Police arrest Hwange community leader

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2021 at 09:07hrs | Views
POLICE in Hwange, Matabeleland North province on Thursday arrested a Dinde community leader for leading a protest the previous day against a Chinese coal-mining project in the area.

Never Tshuma, the vice-chairperson of the Dinde Residents Association (DRA), was detained by Hwange police following the protest with sources saying he faces charges of incitement of violence.

Tshuma was expected to appear in court yesterday.

However, by midday he was still to be taken to court by the police amid fears of a further detention. Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Tshuma's arrest came a day after the Chinese Beifa Investment company moved into the area with machinery such as drilling rigs to kick-start a coalmining project despite resistance from the community that fears eviction from their ancestral lands.

Farau Maguwu, the director of the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CRNG) that has approached the courts to stop the Chinese coal-mining project, yesterday condemned the arrest of Tshuma as unfortunate.

"The arrest of Never Tshuma must not be taken lightly. It is an assault on the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans must unite and fight this intrusion of Dinde by the Chinese," Maguwu said while suggesting that Tshuma's arrest is an attempt by authorities to silence the Dinde community.

"Government, which is busy surrendering our sovereignty to China, is abusing the country's security services to use Never as an example of how they will deal with any citizen who defies China's colonisation of Zimbabwe."

Greater Whange Resident Trust (GWRT ) coordinator Fidels Chuma added: "His arrest is very unfortunate and sad. There is a need for stakeholders to urgently meet and resolve the Dinde issue. Fears of forced evictions, social amenities and sustainability of the mining project should be addressed."

The proposed Chinese coal-mining project evokes anger in the Dinde community that has had to even seek the help of speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to stop attempts to evict them. Mudenda hails from Matabeleland North province.

Recently, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo and Mines minister Winston Chitando led a government delegation to the area to ostensibly convince villagers to allow the Chinese coal-mining project to take-off, but without success.

Chinese mining companies have made a footprint in Zimbabwe, among other African countries, particularly on issues related to mining operations in search of raw materials.

The mining operations have often caused discord among locals, with many alleging that they have been left with nothing to show for the Chinese mining operations save for environmental degradation.

In Hwange, the Chinese are reportedly targeting coal, tantalum, jade and quarry mining among other resources. In the same district, the Chinese are operating at places such as Deka South, ZZCC Dick Area, Ngumija, Mpongola, Dinde cattle pen and dip tank, Kapami, Hwange industrial area, Nsongwa and now Dinde.

Source - the standard

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