The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has produced a fake coal mining project acceptance letter for Dinde that was manufactured by its consultant, founding Director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) Farai Maguwu has said.
The production of fake Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by EMA-linked consultant companies has been a growing trend in the mining sector with environmental advocacy groups accusing the government of using the law against its own citizens.
According to Maguwu EMA has produced the acceptance letter when due diligence was not done, he said that a police officer by the name of Chief Nekatambe who does not reside in the area was used by the consultancy to sign acceptance letters on behalf of the community. Chief Nekatambe is also accused of being an interested party in the project, therefore, has no right to speak or represent the community even if he was a member of the community.
“The Environmental Management Agency, formed in 2002 through an Act of Parliament to defend and protect the environment, has reached a new low by producing a fake coal mining project Acceptance Letter for Dinde that was manufactured by its consultant. EMA has also produced a fake permission letter for the same project. The letter is fake because it is signed by people who do not reside in the affected area. For instance, the acceptance letter states that ‘allow for coal exploration to go on and then sit down after discovery to map the way forward when the EIA for mining is to be done. The proponent should employ the local community and work well with the community.’
The permission was signed by Chief Nekatambe, a Zimbabwe Republic Police Officer and another cited as a Villager. Chief Nekatambe does not even reside in the area to be affected hence he has no legal grounds to sign on behalf of the Dinde Community. He is also believed to be an interested party in the project and has been accused of threatening the community with arrests and unspecified actions if they continue to resist the project. All the papers produced by EMA regarding this venture were stamped and signs by the notorious Chief Nekatambe. It is equally scandalous that a ZRP official gives permission on behalf of the community. He does not even belong to the Dinde community and his duties are primarily to ensure the meeting proceeds peacefully.” Maguwu said.
Groups have called for the commissioning of an independent impact in Dinde as a matter of urgency to protect the community from being displaced from their ancestral land without full benefits. The groups have called for the government to bring to book EMA officials and Geovannah Consultants company. The technical reports should be used as a basis for an emergency injunction against the exploration with the justice department.
According to Muguwu attendance registers for the approval of the project were signed by Chinese nationals.
“Equally baffling is the fact that the attendance registers which are now presented as acceptance letters, were also signed by the Chinese nationals who are trying hard to impose themselves on the Dinde community. The EMA letter also confirms that indeed government issued the Chinese with a Special Grant, SG 7712, for Dinde Communal Lands. This explains the presence of security forces at the meetings and all attempts to coerce and trick the community into accepting the environmentally catastrophic project.
EMA has produced an attendance register from Gweru based Geovannah Consultants as proof that consultations were held. However, the attendance register is just that – an attendance register and must never be spun to stand for an acceptance form. Further, a significant number of the people listed on the attendance register, including the Police, do not live in the affected area. What is more important is the fact that the Dinde Community – all those who stand to be affected by this investment in fossils, which is a big policy contradiction on the part of the Zimbabwe government given President Mnangagwa’s ambition for a green economy by 2030 – has strongly said NO to the Beifa project,” he said.