At least 50 community share ownership trusts, each worth about $10 million have so far been set up by the government in conjunction with foreign-owned mining companies since the launch of the controversial indigenization program but youths in Mutare, under the Manicaland Business Action Group (MBAG), charge the schemes have failed to benefit local people whose lives remain largely unchanged.
MBAG spokesman Charles Samuriwo said while share ownership schemes are a good concept to empower locals, so far they failed as they concentrate on small communities in which minerals are mined.
In Manicaland, for example, he says the discovery of diamonds in the rich alluvial Marange diamond fields, the province has not benefited from the share ownership scheme launched by President Robert Mugabe.
He adds the community ownership trust in Manicaland is a mystery to people in the province.
He suggests there should be a Manicaland community ownership trust and not Marange community ownership trust. The scheme, he says, must be a vehicle for development spread throughout the province, cutting across all sectors of the economy for the benefit of all people of Manicaland.
The organisation’s chairperson Charles Tavazadza concurs with Samuriwo, adding the MBAG is advocating for a community ownership trust that responds to the needs of the whole province and not a select few communities.
Clay Masekesa of Chigodora Village, which falls under the Marange Zimunya community share ownership trust, says he has not seen any improvement since the launch of the trust last year by President Mugabe.