Thursday, December 2, 2021
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Chiadzwa unrest: Headman, 29 villagers granted bail

Leslie Karumbidza

Headman Chiadzwa and 29 community members who were arrested by police on November 2 after they had gone to Anjin mine to allegedly make a follow up on last week’s agreement with the company have been granted bail.

Mutare Magistrate Langton Mukwengi granted them ZW$ 3000 bail each on Thursday November 4 on condition that they do not engage Anjin mine officials or get within a 100m radius of the company premises.

Chiadzwa community members last week shut down operations at Anjin mine protesting against the company’s lack of corporate social responsibility, transparency, accountability and demanded compensation for invasion of their land.

The Chiadzwa clan alleged that the diamond mining company had made their community poor and miserable.

Anjin Company had reportedly promised the community feedback from their superiors on the resolutions to their demands from the company, and when villagers went back to confront them, they were arrested and later transferred to Mutare Central Police Station.

Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZIDAWU) in a press statement released on November 3, 2021 condemned the arrest as unlawful, unconstitutional and against the principles of a democratic state.

“As ZIDAWU and residents of Chiadzwa community we stand in solidarity with our traditional leaders and fellow villagers arrested on November 2, 2021. The charges are yet to be ascertained though they are linked to voicing against lack of socio- economic development in the area.

“We would want to indicate that the headman and 29 villagers arrested are law abiding citizens who were lawfully seeking engagement with the mining company. Unlike ZCDC, Anjin never attended any multi stakeholders meeting despite being invited. The villagers have been requesting the company for engagement but to no avail,” read part of the statement.

Among the complaints tabled by the villagers are poor working standards, underpayment of wages yet long working hours with unpaid overtime, ill-treatment, with some workers being severely assaulted in violation of the provisions of the Labour Act.

Villagers are also alleging that Anjin was one of the companies dissolved in 2015 and to their surprise it made an unexpected return in February 2020.

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