BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
CIVIC groups have been urged to engage in data-driven advocacy in resource-rich communities to ensure that locals benefit from mineral resources in their area.
The call was made during the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI) in Bulawayo, with participants expressing concern over poor resource management, where communities remained poor and yet their areas are resource rich.
The mining indaba is being held under the theme Leveraging Community Organising towards Unlocking Benefits in Mining.
Tax Justice Network Africa consultant Mukasiri Sibanda said communities should be empowered to demand a fair share of proceeds from the sale of their natural resources.
“Data driven advocacy is needed, which means that the people that participate and anchor the assemblies must be able to extract data. In the mining sector, you don’t only mine gold, but you also want to mine data, the data that you then process,” he said.
“When you process it, you make life easier for communities to understand and engage.”
Sibanda said conversations with communities over resource governance should be rooted in the Constitution.
“The Constitution speaks to natural resources, that natural resources should be equitably shared,” he said.
Citizen Manifesto co-ordinator Aslegh Pfunye said communities were suffering, thus the need for community activism so that they benefit from their natural resources.
In Dinde, Hwange, villagers were locked in a fierce battle for control of their ancestral land after a Chinese company was given special mining rights to prospect for coal in the area.
Villagers in other natural resource rich communities have not been benefitting from them.