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Zim traditional chiefs say ‘spirits are angry’ with diamond miners, government

24 june 2014

Zimbabwe’s tradional chiefs said diamond mining operations in Marange are facing various problems because the spirits are angry at government and mining companies for snubbing them and local cultures.
A weekly newspaper, The Standard quoted the president of the Chiefs’ Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira as saying that the government and mining companies were disrespecting cultural values of communities they were operating in.
“You know, some of these things are spiritual. It is unfortunate that the government did not consult traditional leaders on how to extract the diamonds. The diamonds are on our traditional land. There are supposed to be rituals done first in order to appease the spirits,” he said.
“The land belongs to us and the diamonds are ours. We are the ancestors of this land where diamonds lie on, but, the government decided to go it alone. Look now there are so many problems in Chiadzwa [Marange].
“There are violations of cultural rites. Our ancestors are not happy because of the disrespect of their rights since they stay in a rich land, but are not benefitting from their ancestral land resources.”
Another traditional leader, Chief Gilbert Marange said locals remained poor despite the discovery of the diamonds in their village.
“We demand that chiefs sit on the boards of mining firms in areas under their jurisdiction to ensure they bring development to their communities,” he said.
Marange said it was a mockery that the recent Antwerp diamond sales in Belgium, saw government receiving what he called a “paltry” $11.5 million out of the $80.5 million realised from the sale of 1,239.654 million carats.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished