Civil groups in Zimbabwe advocating for transparency in the mining sector have urged the government to codify the social license concept to address growing negative public sentiment against Chinese business operations in Zimbabwe.
In a joint press statement released by twenty six Zimbabwe Civil Society groups, led by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), the stakeholders spoke out against ‘investment projects that dis-empower and impoverish our people.’ The civic players said adoption of such legal framework will help in monitoring for compliance as well as ensuring shared development with communities in resource rich areas.
“Our joint statement is not meant to defame China or trigger xenophobic resentment towards Chinese nationals in Zimbabwe we seek fair and mutually beneficial relations between the two countries. We have however noted with deep concern the threats of displacements and mining projects in ecologically sensitive places around the country without any due regard for the concerns of the local people,” read part of the statement.
It was noted that growing resentment towards Chinese investments in Zimbabwe, is emanating from a history of China as a dominant player in Zimbabwe’s minerals sector (small-scale and large-scale) with mining operations in rural areas.
“Local communities have come to realize (without any external influence) the losses they are incurring at the hands of the Chinese companies operating in their localities. It is important to note that Zimbabweans are so learned to be able to distinguish exploitative, destructive development from progressive development without having to be influenced by anyone,” read part of the statement,” Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust (GGZT) director Frank Mphalo said
Zimbabwe Advanced Mine Workers Union (ZIAMU) a pro-rights group which defends and promotes worker rights also urged for enforcement and compliance of national statutes by investors. The union called for the law enforcement, EMA, rural district councils and Chiefs to conduct their mandate of protecting natural resources and local people without intimidation or fear of victimisation by those siding with the investors.