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Marange villagers seek to protect diamonds

by Staff Reporter
10 Dec 2018 at 13:11hrs | Views
Villagers from the mining communities of Marange and Penhalonga have developed community protocols that seek to protect diamonds and gold found in their communities.

Community members launched the CPs at Crown Plaza Hotel in Harare last week.

Working with Centre for Natural Resources Governance and Natural Justice, Marange and Penhalonga community member put into action the Nagoya protocol which seeks to promote fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of genetic resources.

Myness Matamba told delegates at the launch that investors who thronged Marange area in search of diamonds disregarded their values and norms because they had authority from the top.

"They have been coming to mine diamonds carrying letters written from the top offices. As a result, we have been forced out of our ancestral lands and had graves of our fore fathers desecrated using heavy machinery.

"We have lost our identity through the exploitation diamonds. They removed us from Marange and sent us to Zimunya and now we are called Zi-Murange people," she said.

Tsverukai Duwa from Penhalonga said mineral exploitation being done in Penhalonga has given the community untold suffering but said the community protested against exploration of diamonds in the area.

Community Protocols are a vital way forward for negotiating agreements that are equitable, and conserve their local biodiversity and traditional knowledge. ... They can also establish internal community rules for the equitable sharing of benefits and for sustainable management of natural resources

Penhalonga community members also complained that Redwing Mine is causing serious air and water pollution which is affecting.

They have even challenged the Environmental Management Agency to produce the environmental impact assessment report of Redwing Mine.

"We have written to EMA several times demanding the EIA report but they are sheepish. They have told us that the mine started operating before EIAs came into effect," Duwa said.

In a Penhalonga Community Environmental Audit Report residents sought to view conditions spelt in Redwings Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which EMA failed to produce arguing that the company has an Environmental Management Plan (EMP), which again, they failed to avail.

Source - Munya Shumba