By A Correspondent- Kusena villagers in Marange, who last week had resisted an order by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to temporarily vacate their homes so that the diamond miner can engage in exploration activities finally capitulated.
Bocha Diamond Community Trust board member Takura Betera yesterday told NewsDay that most of the affected families are set to lose their land after the exploration exercise.
“The ZCDC approached us saying it wanted to do exploration activities, including blasting activities, near our homes. It had a meeting with our traditional leaders last Wednesday, and as villagers, we also held our own meeting last Thursday,” Betera said.
“They told us to camp at Kusena Primary School on the day that they will be performing their exploration activities. Our response was that it was not proper for them to force us to camp at a school during this COVID-19 era,” he said.
Betera said most of the villagers were set to lose their land due to ZCDC exploration activities.
“Most families are going to lose their agricultural land after the blasting activities. It would be impossible to grow plants on such land. ZCDC must explain to us how it is going to rehabilitate our land,” he said.
The villagers, who had resisted eviction, finally gave in on Friday after striking a compensation agreement for damages that might be caused by blasting activities.
ZCDC spokesperson Sugar Chagonda said the company engaged the villagers, adding that the process went on well.
“They (villagers) did not resist. We carried out awareness campaigns, which is a requirement. We cannot just take villagers by surprise. Some of them have no understanding of what exactly is happening. However, they later appreciated the process of exploration and it was a success,” Chagonda said.