Legislator Accused of Hoarding $1.2M Community Trust Funds

Marange Faces Backlash Over Chiadzwa Trust Fund Control, Community Outraged

by Adenike Adeodun

In a contentious development within the Marange community, Zanu PF Mutare West legislator Nyasha Marange faces accusations from local traditional leaders of exerting undue influence over the distribution of a substantial US$1.2 million fund allocated to the Chiadzwa Community Ownership Trust. This controversy has sparked significant discord, highlighting underlying tensions around the governance of community resources in areas affected by diamond mining operations.

The contention revolves around allegations that Marange is seeking to monopolize control over the funds, intended to benefit the broader community, particularly those displaced by diamond mining activities in Chiadzwa. The dispute has escalated to the extent that traditional leaders and community members have sought intervention from higher authorities to address what they perceive as an overreach of Marange’s authority.

Adding complexity to the situation, residents who relocated to Arda Transau in 2010, to make way for diamond mining, and have voiced their demands for a fair share of the trust’s funds. Their claims underscore the broader community’s expectations for equitable distribution and utilization of resources meant for their welfare and development.

The controversy has been fueled further by accusations that Marange is leveraging political connections, specifically his purported proximity to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to assert his influence over the trust’s funds. This has raised concerns about the potential for political interference in community affairs and the equitable distribution of resources intended for development projects.

In a striking incident that has brought public attention to the issue, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa openly reprimanded Marange at a public event in Mutare, criticizing his alleged practice of invoking the President’s name in his dealings. This public admonition by a figure of Auxillia Mnangagwa’s stature signals the seriousness with which these allegations are being taken at the highest levels of government and society.

Responding to the allegations, Marange has categorically denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the funds are intended for the benefit of all three constituencies within the Marange area, including Mutare West, North, and South. He emphasizes his commitment to ensuring that the funds are used for community development projects, such as drilling boreholes, to meet the needs of the affected communities.

The Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, at the heart of this dispute, plays a crucial role in supporting communities impacted by diamond mining in the Marange area. Its mandate includes facilitating economic, social, and cultural development initiatives, such as relocating community graves and preserving cultural shrines, which are vital for maintaining the community’s heritage and well-being.

This situation in Marange highlights the challenges and complexities surrounding the management and distribution of resources in communities affected by mining operations. It underscores the need for transparency, accountability, and inclusive governance in the administration of community trusts and development funds. As this dispute unfolds, it serves as a reminder of the importance of ensuring that community development initiatives truly serve the interests and welfare of the community members they are intended to benefit.


Source: Newsday

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