George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
The battle between the Chivi community and Murowa Diamond Company over the firm’s exploration activities in Sese has taken a new twist after villagers resolved to seek an eviction order to forcibly move the gem extractor from the premises of a local secondary school.
Murowa and the Sese community under the Sese Community Trust (SCT) banner have been at loggerheads after the company’s move to set up a camp in the precincts of Danhamombe High School.
The miner, which is exploring for kimberlite diamonds, is under fire for having allegedly ignored an initial ultimatum from SCT issued via the Danhamombe High School Development Committee (SDC) to decamp by December 5.
According to the SDC, Murowa was supposed to remove its camp to enable the school to embark on a planned irrigation project that would generate revenue for the institution.
At one time, the gem extractor also allegedly conducted drilling activities less than 100 meters from a classroom block at the nearby St Simon Zhara Primary School, with the noise of the rig disrupting learning at both schools.
After the lapse of the December 5 ultimatum, the Danhamombe High SDC last week resolved to evict Murowa.
A letter giving power of attorney to the SDC chair Mr Junius Gurajena, dated December 9 and signed by the secretary Mr Musiiwa Musiiwa, empowered him to take legal action against Murowa on behalf of Danhamombe High.
“The committee resolved that legal action leading to an eviction order be taken immediately against Murowa Diamond Company and Matutu and Kwirira Legal practitioners represent the school,” read the letter.
“The SDC chair Mr Junius Gurajena is authorised to sign any necessary legal documents on the matter.”
The new development marks yet another twist in the battle between Murowa and the Sese community over the firm’s ongoing exploration work.
Mr Gurajena yesterday maintained that they wanted Murowa to pack its bags and leave the precincts of Danhamombe High, adding that any engagements would be done with the gem miner out of the school yard.
The matter has caught the attention of Government, with Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira saying it was not permissible for a company to camp at a school like what Murowa did at Danhamombe.
Chivi district development coordinator Mr Innocent Matingwina said his office was seized with the matter and wanted to resolve the dispute between the two parties.
“We need to understand why Murowa does not want to relocate as per the demand of the parents,” he said.
“The community wants Murowa to vacate the school before any engagement can start between the parties and we need to hear why Murowa cannot do so. We want the parties to reach an amicable solution so that they are able to work together going forward.
Trouble has been brewing between Murowa and SCT after the company started exploration work more than two years ago.”
When The Herald visited Sese recently, SCT chair Mr Kasirai Chamboko claimed that some villagers had lost their livestock after drinking water believed to have been contaminated by Murowa’s exploration activities.
Murowa was also accused of spurning several overtures by the community for dialogue on the ongoing exploration activities.
Villagers also pushed for a probe by Government on circumstances surrounding the setting up of Murowa’s camp inside Denhamombe High premises.
The diamond miner is scouting for diamonds in Chivi, which reportedly sits on the same diamond belt currently being mined by Murowa in Mazvihwa in neighbouring Zvishavane district.
The Sese community say they want a win-win situation where they would also benefit from the extraction of the gems.
Zimbabwe’s diamond policy only allows Murowa, Alrosa, Anjin and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to mine gems.