Anjin relocates 35-member family to squalid home

HARARE - A thirty five-member family is being forced by a Chinese-owned diamond mining company to share a squalid house in Arda Transau after they were evicted from their spacious homestead in Marange.

Diamond miner Anjin Investments relocated some of the 800 families from their homesteads in the diamond-rich Marange fields on the strength of promises that they were going to be awarded new homes and many other incentives.

Eighty-eight year-old Philimon Kambeni, who is battling health woes and advanced age has 14 wives and 20 children who are now living in squalid conditions in Arda Transau.

The Kambeni family says it had lived comfortably since the liberation struggle until the discovery of the diamonds, which caused their eviction.

With an eight bedroomed house, six of the wives have no bedrooms, creating a crisis for Kambeni.

“Where our homestead used to be is where their machines are, what we called our farms are now their dams,” Idah, one of Kambeni’s wives said.

“And they abandon us to farm compounds? No! Our children were kicked out of school and we had to make thousands of bricks for the school so they could be admitted back in school,” she said.

Anjin investments, which is in a joint venture with the government, is accused by many in this community of reneging on promises to ensure families uprooted from the rich alluvial diamond fields have a good and stable life.

“Anjin has failed us, they have not fulfilled the promises they made,” chipped in Miriam, Kambeni’s oldest wife. “We were supposed to be moved to Arda Transau but were temporarily moved into the compounds and it has been over two years now.”

The wives say they had bedrooms of their own, granary and kitchen each before they were moved. They complained that their crops were destroyed in the process and now are living like destitute.

The shortage of bedrooms has created problems for the wives together with their children.

Munyaradzi Machacha, a director at Anjin, said they had referred the Kambenis’ matter to the Manicaland governor Chris Mushowe office.

“I know about his case, and that is the design he gave us, we built the house according to his instructions, we have now referred the matter to the governor, the company is no longer dealing with it,” he said. - Bridget Mananavire

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