In 2015, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) launched the “Investor I Want Campaign” in Zimbabwe in response to the concerns raised by communities and its membership across the country regarding the business activities that violated the social and economic rights of the host communities among other human rights issues.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights makes a strong case for business to practice responsible investment, accountability and transparency in communities they invest in. Yet in Zimbabwe the investors both local and international investors, have not been able to fully respect and protect the host communities’ social and economic rights. More so, the government has not also been effective in its supposed role to protect the citizens from the abuse of the latter’s rights by business-related activities.
Community Voices on The Investor I want:
To Gwanda Municipality
We want investors who will put the needs of our community first, on the issue of housing, we appeal to the city council to take action concerning the issue of ownership in houses in the high density suburbs, some families have been left homeless. We approached the council and no action was taken, we expect investors who will pay attention to our needs and react immediately.
We want investors who will safeguard and prioritize our rights, the kind of investors who will ensure that the issue of water shortages in Gwanda is addressed. Ever since the installment of bulk prepaid water meters in the Municipality of Gwanda by ZINWA as a result of not honoring bills, residents in the high density suburbs have gone for months without water, surely that’s a violation of our right to water. We want investors who will ensure the restoration of normal water supplies. We want investors who will consult the community before making such huge decisions.
To Fidelity Printers and Refiners
As Matabeleland South miners we expect to be consulted when it comes to decisions that involve us. The requirements for the loan facilities are too high considering the current situation in Zimbabwe, we expect stakeholders to sit down with local leadership to map a way forward.
To the investor: Trek, Small Scale Miners
As the community, we want to be involved in meetings which are held at the district council with other stakeholders so that we can have the challenges that we are facing as the community addressed.
We Want Transparency and accountability in every investment that is made in our community, no hide and seek.
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority and Trek
We want investors who will carry the needs of the community at heart, we have noted that most of the employees are not local and reside in plastic houses, these are the very same people who litter our community with used pampers. Many of our youths are unemployed, we want investors who will employ local people to reduce crime rates in our area.
Our homes and our forefathers’ graves have been destroyed without any compensation, why are we treated in such a manner in our motherland? We want investors who will treat us with respect.
To Small Scale Miners
We want responsible investors, investors who will use mining methods which are economically friendly. Who is to close the open pits, if they are left unattended? Our children, our animals continue suffering due to these open pits. Dams and rivers are drying due to your hazardous substances.
The prevailing situation in Zimbabwe where there is no engagement between the business sector and host communities has exposed communities to human rights violations such as pollution, displacements, marginalization among others. The investors in Zimbabwe have been overlooking engagements with communities and local authorities, there is need for the private sector to consider human rights in their quest for profits.
Fidelity Printers and RefinersZimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)ZIMCODD