Implement Devolution to Protect the Rights of Citizens to Development

The Amalgamated Chiadzwa Development Communities Trust (ACDCT) is a community based organisation with a mandate to demand for the protection and sustainable utilisation of natural resources in rural communities of Manicaland Province. The ACDCT Chiadzwa platform strongly condemn the failure by government to combat gold smuggling in Zimbabwe. ACDCT is however not surprised to learn that Robert Mugabe International Airport has become notorious for facilitating mineral smuggling despite being garrisoned by state security agencies. It is common practice in Chiadzwa that on a rotational basis state security operatives have been central in facilitating illegal diamond digging and smuggling activities ever since the government took over the diamond fields from African Consolidated Resources in 2006. The consolidation of diamond mining by government in 2016 sidelined our community. Consolidation further entrenched the interests of political elites in diamond mining. Diamond extraction by Anjin and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is currently taking place in our Chiadzwa community. Chiadzwa is located in ward 30 of Mutare District in Manicaland Province.

In this community service provision has broken down. There is one clinic serving 20 villages with an estimated population of 20 090 people. Medical services are not adequate at the clinic against long walking distances that range from 7 to 18 kilometers. Only 34 boreholes are functioning. A considerable number of households have abandoned their rural homes to settle along river Save and Odzi in order to access water. Chiadzwa is a dry region which receives less than 500 milliliters of rainfall every year. School infrastructure is dilapidated and there is no electricity and running water. The community cannot meet new curriculum demands on textbooks for 6 subjects at primary school and 10 subjects or more required at secondary school. In some cases, only a teacher’s copy is available for class enrolments ranging from 45 to 68 pupils per teacher. School improvements grants from UNICEF which most schools rely on, are only available to primary schools. Overall pass rate in both primary and secondary schools in my community is below 45%. There is high increase of school dropouts caused by illness from malaria, long walking distances to school, long distances to fetch water and biting poverty.

School dropouts has given birth to early child marriages. High increase in child marriages has increased cases of domestic violence and divorce in my community. My community is malaria infested because of excavation pits that were created by diamond mining companies. Children are the most affected. There is high absenteeism in schools as a result of malaria. Most roads in my community are not accessible and some children fail to attend school in the rain season for fear of being swept away by flooded rivers. Our local authority, Mutare Rural District Council (MRDC) is divided into 36 wards. Our district is endowed with gold and diamonds. Policy centralisation by government makes it difficult for MRDC to derive meaningful revenues from resources that are being exploited in our communities. As a result, MRDC cannot effectively meet basic service delivery in our communities. On a daily basis, our community is subjected to all forms of state brutality because of diamond mining. There is no information from government on revenues generated from diamond mining. Yet the smuggling of minerals through state institutions continues unabated.

Source: Amalgamated Chiadzwa Development Communities Trust (ACDCT)

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