via Govt accused of ‘reneging’ on food relief commitments | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell 23 October 2013
The government has been accused of reneging on promises to provide food relief to relocated villagers in the Marange region, with hundreds of people not receiving aid for 12 months.
The villagers were relocated from their Marange homes in 2011 to make way for alluvial diamond mining operations, including the controversial Anjin mining firm. More than 450 families were moved to Arda Transau, a government owned piece of land.
James Mupfumi, the Acting Director of the Center for Research and Development (CRD), said the relocated villagers were promised food relief packages every three months. He said this commitment was guaranteed, at the time, by the government.
“The community has not been getting food hand outs since last October. The company has not been forthcoming We have tried to engage the Ministry of Local Government, but all they have said is the company is not obliged to give the community food,” Mupfumi said.
He added: “The government acted as the guarantor of the commitment to give food to the community. But it is clear that the government is reneging on this promise.”
The Anjin firm was licensed originally on the grounds that it was partnered with the government run Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC).
However, a shadowy ownership structure of the firm has slowly come to light showing that the company is, in fact, a partnership with the Chinese and Zimbabwe’s military. The ZMDC allegedly only has a 10% stake in the firm, although this has been disputed.
According to a report by the pressure group Global Witness, Anjin’s executive board on the Zimbabwean side is a ‘whose who’ of police, military and state security chiefs, including some who are notorious for their involvement in gross human rights abuses.
The firm, the largest operating in the diamond rich Chiadzwa alluvial fields, is also the chief culprit of ‘missing’ diamond revenue. The former Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last year that the government had not received “a single cent from Anjin.”
The firm, which has been accused of helping finance a ‘parallel’ government in the run up to the July elections, has since said it will no longer be supporting the villagers it relocated, because of “cash flow problems.”
The CRD’s Mupfumi told SW Radio Africa that this is just an excuse.
“I do not think that the company is facing cash flow problems. They are saying they are no longer obliged to provide food, and the government says that too,” Mupfumi said.