President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Government will not allow mining companies to displace communities from their ancestral lands and mining operations can only go ahead when those communities agree.
Mnangagwa said this while addressing ZANU PF supporters during a rally at Chidodo Primary School in Uzumba, Mashonaland East Province on Saturday.
The President said Zimbabwe welcomes foreign investment but the country should set the rules of engagement. He said:
We do not want people who come to do mining in an area and disrupt people’s ways of life.
Communities come first and that should be respected. No mining should happen unless the people and their community leaders agree.
If the community says a project cannot go on, that should be final.
I heard that there were people who wanted to do mining on school premises. That is unacceptable.
I told the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution (for Mashonaland East, Apollonia Munzverengwi), that all those who try and impose their projects on communities should be reported.
However, multiple reports allege that foreign-owned mining companies, especially Chinese-owned, have been polluting rivers and destroying the environment while ignoring concerns raised by locals.
READ MORE: Govt Dismisses Dinde Villagers’ Concerns
In Dinde, Hwange, a coal-mining company, Beifa Investments (Pvt) Ltd, allegedly desecrated graves and is pushing local people off their ancestral land. The company denies the accusations.
Dinde Residents Association (DRA) deputy chairperson Never Tshuma was arrested on charges of inciting public violence after leading villagers in a protest against the coal mining venture by Beifa Investments.