New Anjin-owned hotel sits amid poverty

HARARE - Standing on a 7 438m2 plot, Golden Peacock Hotel dwarfs the local environs.

Owned by Chinese firm, Anjin Investments, which is mining diamond in Marange, the hotel is like a giant monster located just off the Mutare-Masvingo highway, which also leads to the diamond fields.

Many local residents seem to have no idea knowing what this huge edifice is though others believe the diamonds are processed there, oblivious that this is a hotel built to Chinese liking using diamond cash from Marange.

“When it was under construction we were told it was a diamond processing centre and we are surprised to hear it’s now a hotel,” one local told the Daily News on Sunday in the nearby Hobhouse suburb, which has had no access to water and spots bad gravel roads, including the one that separates it and the Chinese hotel.

Many people here say Mutare should by now boast of a thriving diamond industry after the discovery of the diamonds.

But the only notable thing that the town has at the moment is the Chinese hotel, where a decent meal and a cup of tea cost $10 and above, way beyond the dreams of locals.

In the city centre the roads are in a state of disrepair.

Apart from pothole patches on the tarred roads, many others in the high density suburbs still remain gravel.

The situation is no better in Marange, the epicentre of diamond mining.

The world famous place still has bad dust roads which are now causing serious pollution due to increased traffic.

Villagers here have to endure the huge plumes of dust from “diamond trucks”.

The Daily News on Sunday crew met Malvern Mudiwa at the local business centre in Marange.

Mudiwa leads the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, a community based organisation fighting for the empowerment of the people living around Chiadzwa diamond fields.

He is not a happy man.

“We are not against any mining operations but it must be done to economically benefit locals,” said Mudiwa.

“The relocation of the people from Chiadzwa to Odzi was violation of people’s rights, the compensation given to people relocated is nothing and some of them have lost their lives forever.”

The area has become a no go zone.

People living in the Chiadzwa area say it is as if they are back to the colonial days of the “keeps”.

A teacher at a local school says she is constantly harassed by security officials at checkpoints because she is not a native of the area.

“I am from Masvingo and the police at Marange always harass me because my ID starts with 22 while those of the natives of Marange starts with 75, so it’s a constant problem for me,” said Ziki.

A sign at the turn off to Marange reads: “Protected Places and Areas Act (Chapter 11:12) Chimanimani Reserved Area Notice. Public Notice-Zimbabwe Government Notice Number 181/2007.

“You are now entering a protected area. Entry is strictly only to local residents. Visitors require police passes to enter the area.

“Any other person other than a local resident found within the protected area without a police pass shall be liable for arrest, search and prosecution.”

The Daily News on Sunday crew had to devise a plan to enter the area. We posed as outsiders going to a funeral.

The situation in the nearby Matanda Village is grim.

While people expected to benefit from employment, restive youths still roam the villages with virtually nothing to do.

The community still depend on the benevolence of donors for the basic services such as health care and the only functional clinic in the area Matanda Rural Health Centre was constructed with the help of donors.

An elder of the village who identifies himself as Kajanda said: “There are many orphans in the villages but they are not going to school yet these companies are there. It costs only $10 a term and we are wondering why they can’t just educate the whole village.”

Only if he knew $10 is hardly enough to buy a round for two at Golden Peacock. - Own Correspondent

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