CHIADZWA villagers have reportedly ironed out their long-standing wrangle with diamond miners after the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) recently offered $50 000 to pay for the erection of tombstones on graves washed away by this year’s incessant rains.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
At least 150 villagers had threatened to block mining operations in the area in protest over the miners’ refusal to lay tombstones at Chitangazuva reburial site in Chiadzwa.
Almost $35 000 is needed for the laying of tombstones, while $15 000 is needed for the cleansing ceremony.
The villagers’ remains were exhumed and relocated by Jinan and Marange Resources from Rombe, Chiadzwa, Tonhorai and reburied at Chitangazuva burial site to allow for mining activities.
Mathew Mundondo, from Upfumi Hwepasi Kuvatema, who exhumed the bodies said the impasse was broken recently after ZCDC chief executive officer Morris Mpofu met traditional leaders and villagers and pledged to address their concerns.
“Some villagers, traditional leaders met( ZCDC) management in Chiadzwa last week at headman Robert Chiadzwa’s homestead, where the delegation, headed by Mpofu, addressed the gathering, together with board member Colonel Esau Chiadzwa,” he said.
“Mpofu said they received a call from (Information) minister (Christopher) Mushohwe, who had received complaints from villagers in Chiadzwa and some who were relocated to Arda Transau,” he added.
“Villagers are happy with how Mpofu is handling the matter. He is new and has shown great concern to help the villagers and villagers are happy with him, Mpofu.”
The delegation also reportedly toured Chitangazuva reburial site and recommended that a perimeter fence be erected at the site.
Chiadzwa villagers’ representative, Tebson Manyere, said he was optimistic that the matter would be resolved.
“I think this issue should be addressed as soon as possible, but I think everything is now moving. At least the company has shown interest to help us (villagers),” he said.
Chiadzwa assistant headman Shadreck Chipise confirmed the development and hailed ZCDC for engaging the villagers on the issue.