In a major breakthrough that is set to ease simmering tension, Murowa Diamond Company has agreed to decamp from the precincts of a school in the Sese area of Chivi where the company has been exploring for diamonds for the past three years.
The development follows the formation of a mediation committee comprising representatives of the Sese people , Murowa and Government stakeholders to end a raging standoff between villagers in Ward 20 and the gem miner.
Murowa and villagers in Sese have been at loggerheads as the latter accused the former of refusing to engage them to pursue a win-win scenario in the area where the diamond company is hunting for diamonds.
Villagers also charged among other things,that Murowa had illegally camped inside the boundaries of Danhamombe High School detailing plans to build a boarding school and a planned agricultural project to help the school generate revenue.
Pollution of water sources in the area coupled with noise of drilling rigs,damage of roads were also some of the issues at the centre of a beef between the two parties.
This led to sporadic demonstration by villagers against Murowa, with things reaching a crescendo a few weeks ago after angry villagers dug trenches on access roads used by the diamond miner to stop the exploration.
This forced Government to intervene with Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando and Masvingo Provincial Affaird Minister Ezra Chadzamira convening a meeting between the warring parties in Chivi where they ordered the setting up of a mediation committee to promote harmony.
Chivi district development coordinator Mr Innocent Matingwina yesterday confirmed breakthrough paving the way for thawing of relations between the parties.
He said a second meeting of the mediation committee was set for next week.
“We have since constituted a mediation committee which has already held its first meeting resulting in Murowa agreeing to remove is camp from Danhamombe High School.
“Consultations between Murowa and council are already underway to help the miner get a new place to camp,” said Mr Matingwina.
“The community is now very happy that the miner agreed to decamp from their school which was one of the main sticking issues in the dispute.”
Mr Matingwina disclosed that besides decamping from Danhamombe, Murowa had also agreed to set up a bursary to assist 100 students from ward 20 in Sese with school fees up to Advanced Level.
“Beneficiaries of the bursary will be drawn from primary schools in and around Ward 20 and they will get school fees assistance up to A Level.”
Murowa,according to Mr Matingwina had also drilled six boreholes that will soon be handed over to the local community.
The new development is expected to bring closure to a protracted battle pitting villagers and a big company in the fight of control of resources.
President Mnangagwa, last year urged Murowa to engage the Sese community so that there is buy-in for the planned diamond mining project.
Villagers charged that experiences from previous similar mining and other investments left local hanged to dry with resource-hungry big companies pushing indigenous people off their ancestral land without them getting anything in return.
Sese villagers said they were not against investment but wanted firm commitment in black and white from Murowa on its plans to develop their area in return for exploring and mining gems.
Murowa which owns a diamond mine in Zvishavane across Runde River from Chivi, has nearly 200 claims in Sese and surrounding areas and is currently exploring to determine whether kimberlites in the area are diamondiferous.