We, the civil society and residents groups operating in Mutare, do hereby restate our position regarding the intention by Freestone Quarrying Company to carry out quarrying activities at Dangamvura Mountain. We take note of a recent meeting held at a town hall in Mutare where Freestone, acting in cahoots with some officials at Mutare City Council, renewed their advances at the sacred Dangamvura Mountain. .
We reiterate that no mining or quarrying will take place at Dangamvura Mountain or anywhere within the surveyed limits of the City of Mutare. A resolution was made by the residents of Mutare at a public meeting held at Skyview Conference Centre on 27 January 2022.
At that meeting, the Mayor of Mutare, Councilor Tandi presented his case for the quarrying project but ALL residents present, who numbered more than a hundred, unanimously demanded that the Freestone deal be cancelled.
In his remarks as he responded to the unanimous rejection of the quarrying project by the residents who attended the meeting, Councillor Tandi told the residents that the decision might be rescinded. The people of Mutare left the meeting hoping that the next big announcement to come from Mutare City Council is cancellation of the Freestone deal.
We note with deep concern renewed efforts to fast track a consultative meeting that was never publicly announced. Mutare City Council posts updates and announcements on various social media platforms but failed to notify stakeholders about this meeting. Many stakeholders only heard about the meeting after it had already been conducted.
We find it absurd for elected officials to go against the wishes of those who endured long and sometimes frustrating voting processes to elect them. We feel betrayed but more emboldened to defend our God given flora/fauna.
Our collective values and interests as residents of Mutare must be respected. Any further advances by Freestone Quarrying at the sacred Dangamvura Mountain will be viewed by the residents of Mutare as an act of provocation and bullying and will not be tolerated.
Dangamvura Mountain is sacred and situated at an ecologically sensitive site whose desecration will have far reaching environmental and social consequences to the local people. As residents of Mutare we expect Mutare City Council to uphold our heritage sites and preserve them from ecological harm. There is no amount of promised money that can justify desecration of Dangamvura Mountain.
We call upon the Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Hon. Nokuthula Matsikenyere to attend to the concerns of Mutare residents and stop the advances of Freestone Quarrying at Dangamvura Mountain.
We call upon the Mutare City Council, Environmental Management Agency and Provincial Mining Director to work together in reversing this deal and ensure the sanctity of Dangamvura Mountain is preserved.
We also call upon the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to take advantage of the current consultative process by the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on the amendment Bill to the EMA Act to propose a raft of measures that will ensure environmental impact assessments are not cosmetic and fraudulent, but indeed informed by the concerns of the people and environmental experts.
At a secondary level, we welcome any investments, including Chinese, so long as they prime local knowledge, views, interests and concerns.
We sincerely ask the Government to offer them another non-controversial site for their operations, far away from our cities.
Below are the organizations that endorse this statement:
- Africa Arise
- BRIDGE Trust
- Bring Up the girl Child
- Buhera Residents Network Trust
- Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG)
- Centre for Research for Peace & Development in Africa
- Commercial Federation of Manicaland Trust (CFMT)
- Community Crime Monitoring Project
- Community Water Alliance
- Concerned Youth and Young Adults Trust
- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Freedom for the Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe
- Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust
- Hope Community Foundation Africa
- Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD)
- Masvingo Residents Forum
- Mhakwe Heritage Trust
- Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association (MURRA)
- Peace Building and Capacity Development Trust
- Platform for Development Initiative
- Tariro Foundation Trust
- Mutare Informal Traders Association (MITA)
- Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYCD)
- The Eastern Caucus (Teca)
- United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT)
- Women’s coalition of Zimbabwe
- Youth Agrarian Society
- Youth Environmental Management and Protection Trust
- Zimunya Young People’s Network Trust
- Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union.
- Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)
- Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
- Zivai Community Empowerment Trust
Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition