Some Mutoko residents led by Headman Mbudzi have given a mining firm Labenmon Investments a 2-day ultimatum to immediately remove prospecting pegs in their native lands.
The villagers are represented by Tinashe Chinox and Kelvin Vada of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
“We have given a 2-day ultimatum to Labenmon Investments to immediately remove pegs which it installed in some villagers’ ancestral land in Mutoko & to desist from conducting any mining activities including pegging & prospecting for granite.
“The villagers led by Headman Mbudzi sought ZLHR assistance after Labenmon Investments began pegging 150 ha of land in 4 villages after claiming that it had acquired mining rights over their land,” said ZLHR.
Villagers are not happy with granite-mining companies which are extracting the valuable stone without contributing to local development projects.
Mutoko, known for its vast black granite deposits, is located 143 kilometres east of Harare in Mashonaland East province.
Several companies have over the years exploited the granite deposits, but the people of Mutoko, comprising mostly the Buja community, say they have not benefitted from the resource.
Mutoko North, for example, has 43 schools. Of these, 25 are primary schools and 18 are secondary institutions. Out of the 25 primary schools, 19 do not have access to water and eight do not have electricity.
Three clinics in the constituency do not have running water. Mutoko Rural District Council chairperson Christopher Karimazondo recently told Newshawks that the local authority encourages mining companies to support social investment which should result in tangible development.