Has Zanu-pf imposed targeted sanctions on Chiadzwa villagers?

OPINION – The late Senator Chief Rekayi Tangwena who resisted forced removal of his people from Gaerezi Ranch must be turning in his grave at the news of what has befallen Chiadzwa people of Marange. What is astounding is the rich irony and Zanu-pf hypocrisy in the whole saga.

In its tribute to Chief Rekayi Tangwena who died aged 74,  Zanu-pf says: ‘He was Chief of the Tangwena people of Nyanga who resisted  removal from their land in the Gaerezi area during the illegal Smith regime era…All attempts to break his iron will, all efforts to terrorise the old man and his flock were futile…’ (www.zanupf.org.zw).

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However, on the flip side, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was quoted last week as saying: ‘Where do you think we will get the money to compensate them (about 300 villagers from Chiadzwa) when the same people who are advocating for the ban of sales of our diamonds are the same who are pushing for the government to compensate villagers?’ (Zimeye, 14/05/11). To add salt to injury, the villagers’ representative Malvern Mudiwa was recently arrested and charged with criminal nuisance for influencing the community.

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As if that was not enough, the Herald reported Monday that ZMDC was going to ‘probe’ Sino-Zimbabwe, a joint venture mining company in which it is a partner with China on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe after it suspended operations and laid-off most of its workers for what ZMDC says were difficulties in selling their diamonds due to ‘unfounded human rights abuses’ (The Herald, 16/05/11).

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It appears the villagers are now being used as ‘human shields’ in the politics of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme following reports Tuesday that scores of disgruntled villagers were removed from Chiadzwa on Saturday and Sunday to pave way for mining operations amid disagreements over compensation and corporate responsibility activities (Newsday, ‘More Chiadzwa relocations spark row,’17/05/11).

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Those who were relocated a year ago to ARDA Transau in Odzi have complained that they were living in abject poverty after promises by Zanu-pf authorities of decent accommodation, proper health and education facilities failed to materialise (The Zimbabwean, 13/02/11). They were promised a new China town which never was.

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The villagers were given US$1000 per family by a Chinese mining company Anjin as compensation, but regard it as a mockery after being ‘dumped’ at the 12000 hectare farm which has been looted and stripped allegedly by Zanu-pf top officials.

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Nobody would be convinced that the Chinese cannot pay the villagers US$50,000  compensation per family following revelations that China is ‘pumping’ US$98 million (The Zimbabwean, 15/05/11) into the completion of a spy centre at Chitamba Farm in Mazowe Valley. The spy centre’s coincidence with elections is worrisome.

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Chiadzwa villagers may not even know what is happening in the world after Robert Mugabe’s  regime resumed jamming news broadcasts from SW Radio Africa in August last year. In 2005 Mugabe’s regime began jamming the UK based station’s frequencies using equipment and expertise provided by China (swradioafrica.com, 02/09/10).

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It is therefore, safe to conclude that Zanu-pf has imposed targeted sanctions on Chiadzwa villagers. I remain to be proved wrong.

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Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, zimanalysis2009@gmail.com

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