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The curse of Murowa diamonds

24 Mar 2019 at 05:58hrs | Views
Dear Editor,

We recently learnt through your informative publication the likelihood of Zimbabwe Diamonds being discussed and categorized as " conflict diamonds " during the forthcoming UN plenary session on bloody diamonds. Good news indeed! But the sad part of it is that this discourse is only centred on Chiadzwa Diamonds as if that's the only place where diamond mining is happening in Zimbabwe. We, The Murowa Ward Community support this initiative and want the classification to include diamonds from Murowa Diamonds, being mined by Rio Tinto. Intact any discourse on Zimbabwe diamonds must not be limited to Chiadzwa but include all the mining companies.

We believe that, based on gem quality Murowa Diamonds is the biggest producer of diamonds in Zimbabwe. The discovery and subsequent mining of diamonds in Murowa Ward some two decades ago has brought great suffering and misery to the local community. Many families were displaced and those who remained are greatly exposed to the negative effects associated with diamond mining. People's homes and houses are cracking and falling due to massive blasting by the mine. The air is super saturated with fine dust resulting in numerous death due to associated lung diseases. Vegetation is covered with a thick layer of dust and water bodies including the perennial Runde river is heavily polluted with mine waste effluent, oil and greases. The water table has disappeared due to the massive open cast pits almost 500m deep. This means no portable water for the community for no borehole can reach such depth. Vast tracks of land was fenced off depriving the locals of the much needed grazing pastures. As if this is not enough, no locals are permanently employed by the company instead are hired on temporary basis to do menial jobs such as cleaning toilets despite the abundance of well educated and experienced personnel. In short Murowa Diamonds management has mastered and perfected the art of recruiting their kith and kin from far places.

This ruthless and heartless company has done virtually nothing in terms of corporate social investment despite the employees enjoying the luxury of flying to and from work. It is a fact that Murowa Ward is one of the poorest and underdeveloped areas in Zimbabwe. There are no roads, no safe drinking water, no electricity, no schools, no hospitals, no life but extreme poverty and suffering. Maybe our diamonds are cursed? The only meaningful development was brought by the then missionaries, Lutheran which built schools.

Over the years the locals have tried to engage management and even approached Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) a subunit of Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission but to date nothing has materialized. Sadly, locals continue to suffer and die and their houses and homes cracking and falling. The local MP (who has been missing since July 31) and the Ward Councillor (who is always AWOL) have abandoned us. We therefore appeal to The Kimberly Process Committee and the Diamond Community at large to come to our rescue as Murowa Diamonds has brought severe suffering to us the locals. Surely any mining activity must be environmentally friendly with tangible corporate social responsibilities not just looting and plundering!

Deprived Murowa Ward Community

Source - Deprived Murowa Ward Community
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