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Zimbabwe govt under fire as investors damage graves

by Staff reporter
03 Apr 2024 at 01:06hrs | Views
THE Zanu-PF government has come under fire for authorising investors to destroy dozens of graves to pave way for mining activities while ignoring the country's social and traditional norms and beliefs.

In an interview yesterday, Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu told NewsDay that the move was in blatant disregard of the sanctity of burial grounds and the cultural values of the affected communities.

He expressed concern over the development accusing government of disrespecting Zimbabwean norms.

"Government is easily authorising displacement of dead people to pave way for mining. Our appetite for profits must have some limits because some of these things have deep cultural, psychosocial effects that will haunt people for a long time to come," Maguwu said.

He said the trend began in Marange around 2009 with more than 3 000 graves have reportedly been destroyed to facilitate diamond mining operations.

Similar incidents have been reported in other areas, including Penhalonga and Buhera, where graves dating back several decades have been desecrated  without consideration for the families of the deceased.

"This week in Penhalonga, there was an exhumation of graves (sic) which are believed to be more than 80 years old. I think those people were buried around 1940s," he said.

"In Buhera recently, they exhumed about 30 graves (sic) and there was trauma in the village where relatives after seeing the remains of their loved ones whom they buried years ago started mourning again.

"No one is preparing the families to deal with the psychological trauma. The whole thing is just so violent in nature and they don't care how people feel about it. Burial is something that is special and sacred.

"But when miners come, they just displace those bodies the same way government is displacing people on their rightful land."

However, Zanu-PF spokesperson Farai Marapira dismissed the allegations.

"As Zanu-PF and the Zanu-PF-led government, we have the utmost respect for our cultural norms. The government can never disrespect or commit sacrilege against its own," he said.

Government has been previously accused of exhuming deceased persons' remains to make way for mining and development projects.

The Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Pvt) Ltd is also seeking the nod to exhume human remains from a grave in the Manhize area in Chirumhanzu district to pave way for the US$1 billion project.

Source - newsday