Civil society groups in the SADC region, East Africa, West Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America join hands in calling on the government of Zimbabwe to drop the case and all charges against the Vice Chair of Dinde Residents Association, Never Tshuma, who was arrested for allegedly inciting the community against a proposed coal project in Dinde.
Tshuma’s case is being heard today in court. A statement (see below) just released by these groups is further demanding that the Government reflects and considers the plight of the community of Dinde in Hwange, Matabeleland North Province that is facing imminent displacement to pave way for the coal mining and thermal power project. The project is owned by some Chinese nationals incorporated as Beifa Investments. We are alarmed that despite consistent resistance by the Dinde community for the past two years, these concerns have not been listened to. Instead the community is facing threats, harassment and the arrest of Tshuma.
The Dinde community – a mix of indigenous Nambya and Tonga tribes has lived in this area since around 300AD. They have adapted to their environment and are famous for craft and cattle breeding. The area to be affected, spanning across three rural wards – is home to thousands of families. At full scale the project is going to destroy at least 13 schools, a dip tank, thousands of homesteads, cultural heritage sites which include the gravesite of local traditional chiefs and several cemeteries. Further the community has raised concern about the destruction of their ecosystems due to the proposed project – especially pollution of the Nyantuwe River which is the life of this community. They also worry that the proposed 270megawatt thermal power station is going to affect air quality and exacerbate climate change in the region. Matabeleland North Province is in Natural Regions 1V and V which are classified as arid and semi-arid.
Beifa Investments reportedly told the community it has no financial resources to fund relocation – especially building of standard infrastructure for the affected families. We are deeply concerned that this project is going to increase the vulnerability of women and children in this community. The enclosure of land by Beifa Investments and subsequent pollution of the Nyantuwe River means women will walk longer distances to search for water and escort children to school.
We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to halt the proposed project and invest the same financial resources in renewable energy which is less harmful to the environment and communities and yet can achieve the same objective. We will also be following up with a call to the Chinese government and financiers of Beifa Investments to abandon the fossil project, which can result in extensive destruction of flora and fauna and join the growing number of financial institutions using their money to save the planet instead of baking it.
Find below the letter to the Government of Zimbabwe.
Farai Maguwu – Director, Centre for Natural Resource Governance.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: +263 (0) 715 387 417
Trusha Reddy – Programme Head, Women Building Power, Energy & Climate Justice.
E: Trusha.Reddy@womin.org.za W: +27 (0) 82 795 3135