BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
A CHINESE firm has reportedly started coal mining operations in Hwange’s Dinde area disregarding objections from community members who fear eviction from their ancestral lands.
The Dinde community had resisted the coal mining venture by Chinese company Beifa Investments, arguing the project would displace them.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) supported the villagers.
Despite the protests from the community, the Chinese coal mining firm has reportedly started operations.
CRNG said it would challenge the “criminal activity.”
“The Chinese are now on site and drilling for coal has started at Dinde against the wishes of the community. This is taking place very close to the community grave site,” CRNG director Farai Maguwu said.
“It is only in Africa where our mercenary governments allow organised criminal gangs to desecrate the final resting places of our departed relatives, all for self-enrichment.
“We will fight this criminal activity.”
A government delegation led by Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo recently failed to convince Dinde villagers to allow the coal mining operations.
“Once again, we strongly denounce this disregard for the collective will of the people of Dinde.
“The investment is criminal in as far as it does not have a social license from the community.
“Organised criminal gangs with political power and connections are robbing the nation of this wealth and dispossessing citizens of their land for self-enrichment.
“It is safe to keep our natural resources in the ground until the country has found patriotic leaders who invest natural resources in the people of Zimbabwe,” Maguwu added.
Beifa Investments company officials could not be reached for comment.
Dinde is home to thousands of Nambyas and Tongas with a preponderance of the Tonga who first settled in the then named Whange district up to Victoria Falls.
They were resettled in Dinde after their relocation from Sinamatela area in the 1920’s to pave way for the Hwange National Park.