Mberengwa sliding into a dry and painful Christmas despite minerals galore

PROUDLY MBERENGWA: Dr. Takavafira Zhou


By Dr. Takavafira M. Zhou

It is with a heavy heart that I write this epistle to the people of Mberengwa in particular and Zimbabweans at large. It was the hope of many Zimbabweans that the August 2023 elections would be free, fair and credible, and open a new chapter in tapping and harnessing the natural and human resources of Mberengwa for sustainable development of the district in particular, and Zimbabwe in general. Sadly, more than three months after elections the country is still in an election mood and there is no hope for better things to come even in 2024, more so because of political uncertainty, plunder of natural resources and an atrocious budget.

Against abundant natural resources accruing in Mberengwa such as lithium, gold, chrome, platinum, antimony, copper, emerald, berryllium, lime, tantalite etc, it is unfortunate that the livelihoods of the people of Mberengwa have continued to deteriorate. Whereas more than 2.5 million tonnes of Lithium has been robbed or plundered from Mberengwa, along the Mwezha schist, it is unfortunate that the people of Mberengwa have nothing to show for this. This scenario is the order of the day with all other minerals that cumulatively have left the people of Mberengwa sinking deeper into economic disarticulation, marginalisation, immiseration, development of underdevelopment, underdevelopment of development, and environmental terrorism.

It is against this resource curse that the people of Mberengwa will tomorrow experience one of the driest and painful Christmas ever witnessed in Mberengwa.

I, therefore, want to express my empathy and sympathy with many hard pressed families in Mberengwa in particular, and Zimbabwe in general, who will not enjoy the Christmas holiday. I also urge the sons and daughters of Mberengwa dotted across the country, region, continent and globally, to consider traveling to Mberengwa and empathize with our kiths and kins, or send whatever little one may have to a struggling family in Mberengwa. Sharing whatever little we may have may certainly make the holiday less painful.

It is also prudent to consider opportunities that may accrue from our general suffering and misery. Such opportunities can only be exploited if we:

  • realise the importance of unity in our diversity across the political divide.
  • Urgently lobby for dividend sharing of mineral wealthy with mining companies as host community.
  • Ensure corporate social development from mining companies.
  • Ensure that Mberengwa RDC, traditional leaders, mining technocrats from Mberengwa, other professionals, and the general populace, collaborate and lobby for robust engagement with mining corporations right from exploration, EIA, growth and closure of mines.
  • Lobby gvt for reservation of 10% of the 100000 hectres of Lithium mining area in Mberengwa for mining by people from host community that can pull their resources together.
  • Lobby gvt for local processing of minerals accruing in Mberengwa.
  • Ensure cultural commoditisation and development of tourist opportunities in Mberengwa.

The only permanent thing in life is change, and in order to improve our current parlous state, we must plan for a better future powered by our unity in diversity, natural and human resources, local processing, infrastructural development, skills revolution, food security and improvement of the livelihoods of the general populace of Mberengwa. That despite our abundant natural and human resources our roads are atrocious, while our district hospital does not have simple equipment like X-ray, and the whole district does not have a single boarding school built since 1980, are causes for concern.

Zvakaoma kudaro ndokwatinobva Mberengwa. It is only our collective wisdom that can improve Mberengwa. Vigilance demands that we must always be resilient every time. It is painful to be poor and marginalized in an area with abundant resources. Tofa here nenyota takatsika m

Dr Takavafira M. Zhou is from Mberengwa, President of PTUZ and a respected community activist

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