Advocates4Earth held its first open panel discussion on WhatsApp on Saturday 30 May 2020 at 1700hrs CAT. The designated group filled up much quicker (257 people) that we expected and we ended up having to simulcast the discussions in other fraternal groups
The featured discussion was on “NATURAL RESOURCE GOVERNANCE IN ZIMBABWE & PEOPLE’S UNMET EXPECTATIONS UNDER COVID 19” with four outstanding speakers from around Zimbabwe:
- SIMUKAI MOMBEYARARA, outreach coordinator at the Citizens Manifesto, from Harare
- TADIWANASHE BURUKAI, executive director of Womandla Foundation, passionate writer, a supporter of all things women, from Zvishavane.
- LENIN CHISAIRA, ecosocialist, environmental lawyer, founder and director of Advocates4Earth
- KUDAKWASHE MAKANDA, programmes manager with Youth Initiative for Community Development, based in Mashonaland East.
In conversation with MELODY REEDS, environmental journalist, from Bulawayo.
The panel discussion touched on the place of natural resources’ and governance in the Zimbabwean context, including the laws, policies and shared experiences from the various areas and organisations represented by the panellists.
The overall outcome was a shared agreement that Zimbabweans, especially communities in resource-rich areas were experiencing very little to no tangible benefits. Cases in point were the black granite mining district of Mutoko in Mashonaland East, platinum mines in the Midlands and gold mining areas in Arcturus and Bindura where local communities and authorities get pittances or even nothing from mining companies. Furthermore, it was felt that during the COVID 19 pandemic, responsible and progressive utilisation of natural resources would have seen the proceeds from such being utilised for health infrastructure, masks, ventilators and well-paid medical staff. Such aspirations are however difficult to meet within the current neoliberal, patriarchal and capitalist system.
The WhatsApp Link for the panel discussion was: https://chat.whatsapp.com/DagIGub2R8iDJB7n32UhB4
Advocates4Earth intends to conduct more such forums both on and beyond Whatsapp. We urge all our members, supporters, volunteers and fraternal organisations and activists both to participate in these events by joining in and submitting questions and to help promote them by sharing this article and the links below on their social media platforms.
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[Advocates4Earth is a non-profit environmental law, climate and wildlife justice organisation based in Harare, Zimbabwe]