HWANGE Central legislator Daniel Molokele (MDC Alliance) has waded into a land dispute between a Chinese coal-mining firm and Dinde villagers who face eviction to pave way for the former to kick-start mining operations.
Hundreds of Dinde villagers face eviction from their ancestral land to pave way for a planned coal-mining project by Chinese Beifa Investment Company.
The dispute has attracted the interest of the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG), a civil society advocacy group, as well as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are now instituting legal action to stop the eviction of the villagers.
Dinde is home to thousands of people from the Nambya and Tonga tribes.
Molokele, in a statement yesterday said he would support the community’s fight against eviction following a consultative meeting held in the area.
The MP’s spokesperson, Thulani Moyo confirmed that Molokele was fighting to stop the evictions.
“The consultative meeting discussed at length the issue of proposed mining exploration by an investment company from China.
“The Office of the MP appreciated and supported the stance taken by the local community representatives who are demanding that no exploration process should start until a more comprehensive local consultation process is conducted.
“Some of the key outcomes of the consultative meeting included that the office of the MP will conduct some follow-up meetings with relevant local authorities who have a direct interest in the matter,” Moyo said.
Matabeleland North Environmental Management Agency official, Chipo Zuze, recently told Southern Eye that the Chinese miners had submitted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to the agency.
“The EIA certificate for prospecting was granted on the basis that there were no settlements and sensitive ecosystems that were going to be affected,” Zuze said.
The land dispute arose a few months after the government was forced to reverse a decision to let Chinese firms explore for coal in the Hwange National Park.
Environmentalists took government to court in September 2020 to prevent ecological degradation after two Chinese firms, Zhongxin Coal Mining Group and Afrochine Smelting were given exploration rights in the country’s biggest national park.