Connect with us

Support The NewsHawks


Don’t betray Manhize villagers: Civil society



CENTRE for Research and Development (CRD) director James Mupfumi is urging the government to take national interest in the relocation and compensation of villagers who have been relocated to pave way for a US$1.5 billion steelmaking project in Mvuma.


This week, the CRD received a backlash after presenting findings on the operations of Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco), which have resulted in more displacements after the company took over farming and grazing land.

This also included the desecrating of graveyards.

The civil society watchdog has lobbied Parliament to initiate an investigation into the Chinese-run steel company after raising concerns over the displacement and exclusion of the local community from the steel project.

However, the findings have triggered a backlash, with critics dismissing them as false and Western-motivated. 

However, Mupfumi this week told The NewsHawks that the Manhize issue should be taken as an issue of national importance to avoid yet another resource curse.

 “Sixty percent of Zimbabweans live on communal and agricultural land where accelerated mining developments largely without due process are taking precedent. The devastating impacts of these mining impacts on people’s livelihoods are matters of national interest which must be taken seriously by government,” he said.

“It is foolhardy and self-serving for political elites to justify disenfranchisement and destruction of local communities in the name of protecting foreign investment. Amendments to the Communal Lands Act and Mines and Minerals Act must be a priority of government to give land holders security of tenure in the wake of increased mining developments.”

“The demands of green technology have grave implications on lithium-producing countries. Needless to mention that government’s ambitious quest to achieve an upper middle income economy by 2030 is hinged largely on mining. It is therefore a human rights imperative for government to adopt international best practices that balance business and human rights.”
This week, the findings were met with disapproval from various critics, including well-known pro-Zanu PF critic writing under the X moniker @mmatigari.

“Once Western-funded NGOs start getting involved, just know there is a nefarious anti-China western agenda behind this. Manhize is a massive engineering project.

Villager involvement in engineering can’t be driven by NGOs. In any case villagers know their leadership to engage,” said Matigari, who is suspected to be Taurai Chinyamakobvu.
Another article on ZimNews Online also accused civic society and the media of pushing an anti-Chinese agenda, targeting Chinese companies.

“Lobbying and propaganda are the major tools being used by the Western NGOs against Disco. A recent example is that of ‘The Centre for Research and Development’, a Western-funded civil society organisation working tirelessly to sabotage Disco,” read the article.

“This CSO has already engaged opposition MPs in a bid to fund and influence the Parliament of Zimbabwe to postpone the ongoing construction of the Disco plant until the needs of Manhize villagers are met. Disco is still under construction though some of the manufacturing units are already operational. The plant is scheduled to be fully operational next year.”

“Manhize villagers literally acknowledged that Disco is not yet fully operational. The villagers expressed much appreciation for the better houses built and employment provided by Disco and are looking forward to benefit more from the company after it is fully operationalised.”

“It then boggles one’s mind how CRD is pushing the Parliament to postpone the construction of the Disco plant until the so-called needs are met when the basic needs have already been met before the company is not yet fully functional.

The anti-Chinese ‘gospel’ is being spread by pro-opposition media houses, with The NewsHawks being the latest culprit.”

However, findings by the CRD in its latest report titled Hold Disco to Account, show that since 2021, 101 families from Mushenjere village have since lost farming and grazing land to accelerated Disco mining developments, and have continued to helplessly witness the destruction of their land by Disco which is setting up water pipelines, power plant and other infrastructure.

“Others are losing land to waste dumping by Chinese infrastructural developments. The clearing of their land by Chinese is also destroying orchards and graveyards of their departed loved ones. CRD observed a long winding durawall that Disco is erecting to enclose farming and grazing land for 101 families in Mushenjere village which have become part of their mining lease,” reads the report.

“138 families from Kwaedza village are also facing a similar predicament as Disco has already set pegs in their village. These villagers mainly originated from poor and densely populated communal areas of Rukovere, Mahusvu, Msasa, Unyetu villages of Chikomba district in Mashonaland East.”

As previously reported by The NewsHawks in May, another watchdog, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) also made similar findings, on how Disco has failed to fulfill many of its promises to the local people who were displaced when the company set up its plant last year.

“Recently our team visited the vast plant under construction to establish the impact of the new development on the local socio-economic, cultural, and environmental fabric of the host community,” CNRG said.

“Setting up of the iron ore crushing site and the steel processing plant relocated an average of 20 families to surrounding areas around the Nyikavanhu area. The relocation was voluntary after beneficiaries were promised some money, a borehole, and a new house.

“Most families agreed to the relocation plan, some refused, citing poor soils at the proposed new sites. The only promise fulfilled was the construction of a new house consisting of four rooms and a hut. Only one borehole was drilled for the families to share,” CNRG said in a report.

“Most families agreed to the relocation plan, some refused, citing poor soils at the proposed new sites. The only promise fulfilled was the construction of a new house consisting of four rooms and a hut. Only one borehole was drilled for the families to share,” CNRG said in a report.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *