Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » 90-Year-Old Polygamist Fights Chinese Company Over House

A 90-year-old Marange polygamist has accused Chinese diamond mining company, Anjin Investment, of reneging on a promise to build him a house after he was relocated to pave for the way for the mine in 2006.

Johannes Kamupeni, who has 14 wives, was moved to Arda Transau in Odzi from his ancestral home in Marange.

He has been living in a plastic shack since 2006 claiming the Chinese company had failed to keep their word following his relocation.

“I used to have better accommodation and land in Marange before relocation and I was able to fend for my family,” said Kamupeni.

“The Chinese brought me here and they are reneging on their promise to build decent accommodation for my family. They promised and they should deliver.”

He however claimed he had rejected a house built by Anjin for his family saying it did not conform to his culture.

“I have been to several offices with regards to the issue of my accommodation and nothing has been done to come up with a solution,” said Kamupeni.

“I have suffered enough and we wonder why these Chinese are taking us for a ride in our country.

“They disturbed our pattern of living in Chiadzwa and promised us heaven on earth but they have just made an abrupt U-turn.”

So far Kamupeni said only eight of his wives were given accommodation after a massive protest to top government officials whilst the rest of his wives were still living in shacks with their children.

To pile pressure on government, Kamupeni and his wives recently invaded teachers’ houses in Odzi. The family is staying in plastic shacks right at the teachers’ doorsteps.

“The teachers cannot live pretty well when (us) who were disturbed by the mine continue to suffer,” he said.

“The government or the Chinese should construct houses for teachers at the school and leave the houses to people who were really affected by mining.”

One of Kamupeni’s wives, Lucia, said they had been reduced to living as paupers in their own country.

“We left our wealth in Chiadzwa and we never had an opportunity take all our belongings,” she said.

“We supported the guerrillas during the liberation struggle but little did we know that we will end up living in such squalid conditions.”

She said the discovery of diamonds was a “curse rather than a blessing” to the people of Chiadzwa.

Kamupeni said he felt disempowered by the Chinese after they failed to compensate him adequately.

“When I was in Marange I used to fend for my family but now that the Chinese have brought me here, I am poorer

“My wives used to work on their land but here in Arda they are now farm labourers. This pains me a lot. We supported the liberation struggle and used to feed guerrillas.

“I had enough income to support them. But today, I am the very person who is being neglected. Why don’t these people let me live in peace for the few remaining days that I have on earth.”

He criticised the assistant District Administrator only identified as Sigauke, for trying to incite the police to arrest him for demanding his rights.

“The assistant DA threatened to call the police to evict me. But I told him that I am not going anywhere because I was affected by the diamond mining.

“Government did us wrong but we never took it to court. How can you prosecute me for demanding what belongs to me,” said Kamupeni.

Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust (ATRDT) chairperson, Cephas Gwayagwaya, also confirmed that Kamupeni is yet to get decent accommodation from Anjin.

“Government should push the Chinese to own up to their pledge” said Gwayagwaya.

“We are very saddened by a situation where a 90-year-old man is living like a destitute yet he had enough wealth to sustain him and his family before the mining and relocation exercise.”

Sigauke could not be reached for comment

Source : New Zimbabwe

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