Human Rights Abuses Hit Marange
Villagers in Marange District have petitioned the government to withdraw the recently deployed state security agents whom they accuse of human rights violations, including torture.
Last week, representatives of the villagers held a meeting with Mines and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando, state security agents, and Marange diamond mining companies among other stakeholders in Harare to discuss the issue.
The chief executive officer of Chiadzwa Community Ownership Trust Hardwork Mukwada represented the villagers.
Mukwada refused to comment on the outcome of the meeting when he was contacted by The Standard saying this will jeopardise the engagements. He said:
It was a closed-door meeting and it is not proper for me to discuss what was discussed in the meeting.
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l don’t want to discuss what happened in the meeting because this will jeopardise what we discussed in the meeting.
I am not brushing you aside but I am leading an engagement with some authorities and communities so please don’t publish it.
The Standard reported a source as saying Mukwada and other civil society organisations (CSOs) highlighted the abuses being perpetrated by State security agents in Marange. Said the source:
Mukwada also pointed to the arrogance of the base commander of the soldiers (name withheld) who has refused to engage with the traditional leaders upon request.
He also spoke about the issue of security checkpoints where villagers are being asked to pay cash and that they solicit cash from passers-by and commuter omnibuses.
Newman Chiadzwa of Chiadzwa Development Community Trust (CDTT) also confirmed the meeting and human rights abuses.
Chitando reportedly spoke briefly during the meeting before calling for continuous dialogue among stakeholders.