STOP BEIFA COAL! STOP Persecuting the Dinde Community!

Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Climate Department of the Zimbabwe Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry

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The Dinde Community in Hwange, Zimbabwe is under siege!

A Chinese company, Beifa Investments, has started exploration work for coal despite objections from the local Dinde community. Ignoring the community's protests, the Chinese investor has vowed to continue with the coal exploration project and plans to set up a thermal power station with no care for the free, prior and informed consent of the people most directly-affected. The Zimbabwe government issued a special grant to Beifa Investments, giving them 4070 Hectares of community lands. Minister of State for Matabeleland North Affairs, Mr. Richard Moyo has threatened that his government will not tolerate any resistance to the project and any protestors will be arrested. His threats come just weeks after Vice Chairperson of Dinde Residents Association, Never Tshuma, was arrested for saying NO to the mine! Never Tshuma is currently out on bail and his case will be heard in court on 17th June 2021.

The Dinde Community needs YOUR support now more than ever!

SIGN ON to call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to:

  1. Immediately halt the Beifa Investments Project and address the concerns raised by the Dinde community
  2. Stop intimidation campaigns and threats to the Dinde community resisting the proposed project and RESPECT their Right to Say NO
  3. Drop all charges and the case against Never Tshuma
  4. Listen to the community’s energy and development needs and find alternatives to dirty coal
Petition by
WoMin Alliance
Johannesburg, Zimbabwe

To: Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Climate Department of the Zimbabwe Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry
From: [Your Name]

Stop the Beifa Coal Project and the Violation of the Rights of the Dinde Community in Hwange, Zimbabwe

The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned with events unfolding in the Dinde Community in Hwange District of Zimbabwe where a Chinese company, Beifa Investments, have started exploration work for coal despite clear objection by the local community. The Chinese investor has vowed to continue with the exploration project despite the community protests and went further to disclose its intention to set up a thermal power station in that community. The special grant issued to Beifa Investments covers 4070 Hectares in 4 wards, namely ward 13, 14, 19 and 20. We are further concerned with remarks attributed to the Minister of State for Matebeleland North Affairs Mr. Richard Moyo who threatened that his government will not tolerate any resistance to the project by the community, arguing that protesters will be arrested. His threats came barely two weeks after the Vice Chairperson of Dinde Residents Association was arrested for resisting the mine. Never Tshuma is currently out on bail and his case will be heard in court on 17th June 2021.

We stand in support of Never Tshuma and the community and are alarmed by and oppose the repression of community activists who are defending their land, environment, cultural rights, and livelihoods. This statement further calls for the charges to be dropped and the case to be dismissed.

Villagers argue that the Beifa investments are in breach of environmental and customary laws of the country as they have not engaged the community for a social license. They fear that, should the coal project continue, some will be subjected to forced relocations while others will be exposed to air and water pollution, especially from Nyantuwe River which provides drinking water for humans and livestock. Villagers also fear loss of livelihoods and grazing land for their livestock; destruction of cultural heritage sites like graveyards for the Nekatambe Chieftainship and also cultural site for ordaining traditional leaders. The proposed site for the project also has economically significant features like a dip tank which was donated to the community by the USAID and the village cattle sale pen.

THE RIGHT TO SAY NO
According to Dinde Residents Association, from February 2019 to December 2019, a team of Chinese nationals would tour the village without consulting or engaging locals. In December 2019, the same team brought some lightweight machinery and set up a camp in the village. Locals mobilised each other and approached the Chinese to establish the nature of business they were undertaking in the area. In a show of resistance, locals ordered them to leave and return with documents granting them permission to work in Dinde. Thereafter, the Chinese investors have visited Dinde community with several officers from the Environmental Management Agency; Hwange Rural District Council; Traditional Leadership; members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army and and a local miner.

DINDE COMMUNITY HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Dinde Community is in Ward 13 in Hwange Rural District Council. It is home to thousands of Nambyas and Tongas with a preponderance of the Tonga who first settled in Hwange district up to Victoria Falls right upstream of the Zambezi River between 300 AD and 400 AD. The Nambyas tracked in from Masvingo in the early 19th century. According to local traditional leader, most people who settled in Dinde area were relocated by the Rhodesian government in 1920 to pave way for the Hwange National Park. The area has had five Chiefs since its establishment in 1920 and four of the chiefs who have passed on were buried near the site where the Chinese want to mine. The community depends on subsistence farming but also specialise on livestock production as soils are predominantly barren. The people of Dinde depend on Nyantuwe River for drinking water - both for humans and livestock.

We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to:
• Immediately halt the Beifa Investments Project and address the concerns raised by the Dinde community

• Stop intimidation campaigns and threats to the Dinde community resisting the proposed project

• Drop all charges and the case against Never Tshuma

• Listen to the community’s energy and development needs and find alternatives to dirty coal

This statement is endorsed by the following organisations:
1. 350Africa.org
2. Africa Coal Network
3. Africa Climate Justice Group
4. Alternative Information & Development Centre, Cape Town
5. Amigas de la Tierra/Friends of the Earth Spain
6. Amnesty International Zimbabwe
7. Centre for Citizens Conserving
8. Centre for Natural Resource Governance
9. CRAAD-OI, Madagascar
10. deCOALonize Campaign
11. Denver Justice & Peace Committee
12. Dinde Residents Association
13. Ecologistas en Acción-Spain
14. Friends of the Earth International
15. Friends of Lake Turkana
16. Friends of the Earth Spain
17. Global Justice Ecology Project
18. Global Rights
19. Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) Africa
20. GroundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
21. Igapo Project - France
22. International Accountability Project
23. Justica Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique
24. Leave it in the Ground Initiative
25. London Mining Network
26. Lupane Youth for Development Trust
27. Matebeleland Institute for Human Rights
28. Red Latinoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de los Derechos Sociales y Ambientales
29. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition
30. Rural Development Policy Institute
31. Oyu Tolgoi Watch
32. People’s Dialogue Southern Africa
33. Power Shift Africa
34. Rettet den Regenwald, Germany
35. Salva la Selva, Spain
36. Southern Africa Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power
37. Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute
38. Southern Africa Resource Watch
39. Southern African Rural Women’s Assembly
40. Sustainable Holistic Development Foundation
41. The Corner House, UK
42. The Gaia Foundation (UK)
43. Trust for Community Outreach and Education, South Africa
44. Witness Radio – Uganda
45. WoMin African Alliance
46. Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union
47. Zimbabwe Natural Resource Forum