School drags diamond mining giant to court

George Maponga 

Masvingo Bureau

A school in Chivi has dragged Murowa Diamond Company and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to court seeking immediate eviction of the gem extractor from the school’s precincts in Sese Communal Lands, where the miner has been exploring for diamonds for three years.

Murowa and Danhamombe High School Development Committee (SDC) have been at loggerheads, with the school demanding that the diamond miner leaves its premises in Chivi.

The SDC has been arguing that Murowa was disrupting learning activities after camping at Danhamombe High School grounds from where it explores for gems in kimberlite pipes discovered in                                         the area.

The SDC wants Murowa to decamp and create space for an agricultural project supposed to have been done in December last year, but failed to take-off after the diamond miner ignored an initial ultimatum.

Through its lawyers Matutu and Mureri, the SDC approached the Masvingo Civil Court seeking Murowa to be ejected from the school precincts within seven days from issuance of summons.

The summons, dated 3 March 2021, cited the diamond miner as the first respondent and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education as the second respondent.

Danhamombe SDC also wants Murowa to meet costs of the suit.

Murowa is still to file a notice to defend the suit.

The move by Danhamombe SDC is a culmination of a long running feud between the Sese community and Murowa over the miner’s exploration activities and camping at the school.

The Sese community allege Murowa arbitrarily camped at Danhamombe, while the diamond miner argued it was given the permission by authorities at the institution.

Murowa began exploring for diamonds in Sese around 2018 and has nearly 200 mining claims in the area.

At one time, Murowa stood accused of having conducted drilling activities less than 100 metres from a classroom block at St Simon Zhara Primary School, which shares the grounds with Danhamombe High School, with the noise of the rig disrupting learning at Danhamombe High School.

The community, under the auspices of Sese Community Trust, first wrote to Government and the diamond miner demanding that Murowa decamp from Danhamombe High premises by December 5 last year.

Murowa was also accused of failing to engage the community to work out an amicable arrangement that satisfies both parties.

Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira at one time weighed in the dispute, saying it was improper for Murowa to camp within premises of a school.

President Mnangagwa also spoke about the issue during a visit to Chivi in December last year, urging Murowa to engage the Sese community to resolve the dispute.

Murowa owns a diamond mine in Zvishavane and the Sese community say they want a win-win situation with the gem extractor if it is to go ahead with mining activities in the area.

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