NOW that the Marange-Zimunya Community Ownership Trust received $5 million from Government on Monday, real development work must begin forthwith.
A lot of lessons must be learnt from the whole saga which began in July 2012, when diamond mining companies that were mining in Chiadzwa then promised to give the community $50 million.
That amount never came, save for a paltry $500 000 that did little to change the face of the Marange and Zimunya communities. The breach in promise incensed the locals who quickly lost confidence in the previous administration.
The mining companies extracted diamonds day-and-night but nothing was channelled to surrounding communities, resulting in a public outcry.
Recent developments that are unfolding in this new political dispensation led by President Mnangagwa have brought back smiles to the people of Marange and Zimunya.
As soon as President Mnangagwa assumed office, the trust’s leadership sought dialogue with the Head of State, which they were duly granted. They tabled their grievances that were immediately answered resulting in the disbursement of the $5 million, which was deposited into the Marange-Zimunya Community Trust CBZ account.
Chief Zimunya who chairs the trust was ecstatic, thanking the new administration for quickly responding to challenges that face communities. He said President Mnangagwa’s response was quick and effective.
“We went to Harare and had a meeting with President Mnangagwa who promised to fulfill the promises that were never met by the previous miners. Because of that consultation with the President, ZCDC on Tuesday deposited $ 5million into our trust account. As I speak right now the money is in our account. I want to thank the President for fulfilling the promise. Cde Mnangagwa is walking the talk. He promised to give us the money and that amount is now in the bank. It’s there for everyone to see,” he said.
Now that the money is there, it must be used effectively and transparently. That money belongs to the community and thus it must benefit the same.
In most cases there are rogue elements who show up at the last minute and work hard to disrupt good community projects in order to fulfil their personal egos.
The unity that the people of Marange and Zimunya showed in claiming what is theirs which was duly given to them by the new administration, must be shown in using the fund productively.
Chief Marange was spot on in calling for accountability. It will make sad reading to come across stories of mismanagement of funds considering the immense contribution that has been done by the community and Government to ensure that the trust is well funded.
What is left now is for the trust membership to go back and finish projects they began years back with the $500 000, come up with new ones, and rate them by order of how they impact on the lives of people.
Zimunya and Marange communities are drought prone areas and water is hard to come by.
Sinking boreholes, developing water storage facilities, harnessing water for irrigation purposes and promoting horticulture and other farming activities need not to be overemphasised.
The bottom line here is that it does not make sense to first built recreational facilities when communities are failing to access basic utilities such as food and water.
A new narrative is unfolding in Marange and Zimunya and it is everyone’s hope that communities will emerge winners at the end of the day.