By Romeo Takundwa
Villagers from Mutoko community, which boasts of large quantities of black granite stone are living in fear of being evicted to pave way for a Chinese mining company in their area.
Chingamuka, Pasirai, Tome and Karimazondo villages in Nyamukapa, Ward 11 in Mutoko are living in fear of being evicted from their ancestral land after a Chinese company, Shanghai Haoying Mining Investments P/L arrived to conduct minng activities in the area.
It is reported that they have been moving around these communities with two officers from Primechart Environmental (Pvt) Ltd, a local environmental consultant group.
Investigations by Bustop TV have established that the officials entered Mutoko without the knowledge of the District Leadership namely the District Development Coordinator, the Rural District Council and the Traditional Leadership.
Shanghai Haoying Mining Investments P/L told the villagers to prepare for relocation to pave way for an underground granite mining project.
Company officials are said to have produced a prospecting license which they claimed grants them permission to relocate people from the land, estimated to measure 178 hectares and the villagers have since approached Headman Nyamukapa to register their displeasure on this issue.
The Mutoko community rely on the land for agriculture, livestock grazing and water.
The villagers also rely heavily on horticulture due to the availability of many aquifers that supply water throughout the year. Displacement will therefore result in loss of livelihoods and food insecurity.
Civil Society Organisations have since stood in support of the Mutoko people defending their land rights.
Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), a civil organisation which advocates for sustainable natural resource governance, has called on the government and the Chinese company to seek consent from locals before exploring mining activities.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development has been parcelling out mining and exploration special grants to connected local and foreign investors.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Chitando claims the intention is to achieve the 12-billion-dollar mining economy unveiled in 2019.
This ambitious drive is at the detriment of communities that are now flooded by fortune hunters armed with special grants. This has also seen special mining grants being awarded in conservancies at the expense of the tourism sector.
Land conflicts are emerging nationwide as communities face uncertain future due to the prospects of mining activities.