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Murowa saga deepens

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FOUR villagers from Zvishavane have petitioned President Robert Mugabe over alleged harassment by Chief Mazvihwa as the alleged pollution saga blamed on Murowa Diamond Mine takes a new twist.

CHARLES LAITON/
ALLIEWAY NYONI

The villagers — Eliakem Mugwagwa, Jacob Mvuto, Rabson Muparani and Simon Stambo, through their lawyers Mugiya and Macharaga Law Chambers — said the chief had summoned them to appear in his court on allegations that they complained against the pollution caused by mining activities.

The petition dated August 4 was copied to Local Government, Urban and Rural Development minister Ignatius Chombo and Chief’s Council president Fortune Charumbira.

Chief Mazvihwa was accused by the lawyers of using a Calvin Juma to harass the villagers.

“We understand you are harassing our clients through one person who is a teacher at Murowa Primary School who also claims to be a chief known as Calvin Juma,” reads part of the petition.

“We wish to advise you that all the people are the same before the law and all are entitled to equal treatment in the republic.

“You are not entitled to employ unlawful agents to harass our clients.

“We understand that you have called them to appear before you on the allegations that they complained against Murowa Diamond mine’s ill-treatment of them.

“If that is correct, we wish to advise you that the issue falls outside your jurisdiction and you have no locus standi to put our clients to trial in the basis of such allegations.

“Our clients no longer have joy and peace of mind in their motherland due to your harassment.

“You need to enforce the protection and the constitutional rights of our clients and not assist in the breaching of the same like what you are now doing.”

Mvuto and sub chiefs Rabson Madzoke and Simon Sithambe Musibande are challenging a judgment by the chief’s court to pay a fine of $100 each to him for highlighting their plight.

The three had confronted Murowa Mine management over pollution, siltation and mine blasts that caused their houses to develop cracks.

Mvuto said they had paid the fine as a sign of respect for the chief’s court, but decided to take legal action because they were the ones affected by the mine’s operations.

“The chief’s younger brother Tarzen Hove came threatening and harassing us for approaching Murowa management and informing the media about our plight saying it was beyond our jurisdiction,” he said.

“We were then summoned to the chief’s kraal and fined $100 each.

“Villagers in the affected cluster then wrote a petition to our lawyer Norman Guyo, Chief Mazvihwa himself, (Midlands Provincial Affairs minister) Jason Machaya and the President’s Office challenging the judgment and informing them of the happenings,” he said.

Madzoke and Sithambe refused to speak to the media saying they feared further victimisation.

Zvishavane district adminstrator Nyashadzashe Zindove said he was going to summon Chief Mazvihwa and the involved parties over the case.

“I will talk to the chief to try and understand the circumstances surrounding this whole saga,” Zindove said.

Last week villagers living near Murowa Diamond Mine also petitioned Mugabe to intervene.

The villagers asked the president to order the diamond mining company to minimise pollution of the area and support community development projects.

The villagers said the area surrounding the mine was heavily polluted with excessive dust emissions from mining activities that had led to some villagers being admitted in hospitals.

Most of them were reportedly diagnosed with dust-related ailments including schoolchildren at Baradzanwa Primary School.

The villagers also said Murowa mine operations in the area had resulted in the siltation of their water sources, including a dam and water reservoirs along Runde River.

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