Diamond Activist Calls For Protection Of Chiadzwa Villagers

Maguwu said it is important for the government to first consider the welfare of the villagers ahead of commercial interests that are pushing for the relocation of the thousands of families in the area to pave way for extraction.

“I feel it’s an area where there is a need for the government, non governmental organisations and the international community to secure the security of the people of Marange,” said Maguwu.

Maguwu was speaking at an event organised by the United States Embassy to discuss human security.

About 50 000 families have so far been relocated from Marange area better known as Marange on 17 December last year. The families were given small plots, 200 bags of maize meal to share but no seed and fertilizer at the time.

They recently received a $ 1000 fee per family as disturbance fees.

Maguwu however said vital facilities such as schools and clinics are located 3 kilometres away from the residences of the families and the timing of the relocation mid agricultural season was wrong.

“There was no proper planning and these do not meet the minimum United Nations standards on human security,” said the Mutare-based diamond activist. More so the relocation is being done in the middle of the agricultural season.”

Turning onto the security issues in the country Maguwu said many Zimbabweans do not enjoy the basic human security and are often subjected to structural violence.

He urged Zimbabweans to start setting the agenda for the politicians not vice versa.

“We need the people of Zimbabwe to be more determined and set the agenda not the politicians to set the agenda for them. Right now the problem is that the politicians are setting the agenda while the people continue sitting and folding their hands,” said Maguwu who last year was arrested for exposing government malpractices in diamond extraction.

He spent close to three months in jail until he was acquitted on the charges.

When asked whether he feels safe when doing his diamond extraction research work, Maguwu said, “When you do the work that I do and working in this sensitive area, it will not be accurate to say I am secure. With this kind of work you threaten a lot of people,” said Maguwu.

Maguwu last week said the Kimberley Process (KP) which regulates world diamond trade should be tougher when dealing with Zimbabwe’s diamond trade compliance. This was against a backdrop of claims by the Zimbabwean government that it has finally secured authorisation to sell its diamonds mined between 2006 and 2009 at Marange.