Govt accused of turning its back on ex-Chiadzwa villagers

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CHIADZWA families relocated to Arda Transau in Odzi nine years ago have accused the government of forsaking the people amid a hostile economic environment and drought.

Between 2010 and 2016, 1 165 families were moved from a village adjacent to the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange to Arda Transau, a 12 000-hectare farm settlement in Odzi.

At the time the relocation was done, the government and Chiadzwa-based mining companies promised that Arda Transau would be transformed into a new township with tarred roads, shops and health centres.

But 10 years down the line, according to Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust secretary Tawanda Mufute, the villagers are yet to see the promised education and health facilities while their homes are crumbling amid widespread food scarcity.

Mufute said the families were relocated by seven mining companies namely Anjin, Jinan, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Rera Diamonds, Diamond Mining Company and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

“The authorities are taking long to resolve the matter. We were promised a lot of things upon relocation, including irrigation facilities but nothing has happened to date.

“The government and companies promised us adequate schools but they did injustice to our right to education. We were promised adequate shelter but we are grappling with housing shortages.

“We were also promised income generating projects, good health facilities, and more land for expansion,” said the Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust secretary.

He said when the villagers were moved, some families were each given $1 000 in compensation and a four-roomed house but others are still to realise the dream.

Mufute added that they were also promised 11 hectares of arable land, including one hectare earmarked for irrigation to run small piggery or poultry projects but this never happened.
Mufute conceded that some mining companies tried their best to assist the community but their efforts fell short.

“Anjin managed to build three primary schools but the schools are not enough to meet the population as some are now conducting classes in shacks and makeshift buildings.

“Some of the mining companies used to give us food aid every three months because the land we are located on is not conducive for farming that is why we were calling for irrigation facilities so that we are able to feed our families,” he said.

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