Doras Silwesha happily drawing water at the newly constructed borehole at Mbilima Community in Chitipa

By Donata Mpochela

CHITITA-(MaraviPost)-Inadequate of constructing corporate social responsibilities, a development to meet the demands of Mbilima communities at Illomba Granite Mine Company Limited are yet to reach-satisfaction.

Some time back, the community requested Illomba Granite Company Limited Managing Director, Faisal Hassan to construct a clinic, bring an electric transformer, five boreholes, teacher’s house, and gravel road from the mine to Kaisisi turnoff.

Group Village Head (GVH) Chinzare, Daniel Nyondo expressed concerns that the Illomba mining company has not yet met the demand of the community.

“The company had been operating for 25 years from 1995 up to last year December, but has failed to adhere the demands of the community. The only thing the company has done is to construct one borehole which was constructed by force from the community and a lot of the social work was done by the community,” Nyondo explained.

He therefore lauded his subjects for contributing money to buy cement and built a cement wall brick borehole fence after observing that the company completely failed as Illomba Granite Company managed only to frill one and failed to finish the second one.

Nyondo said community expects the company to come operate the mine while developing the area.

GVH Chinzale We are tired of being used

“We are tired of being used and this has been done for a long time. We need good developments to curb the challenges of the community,” Nyondo said.

A concerned citizen from the community, Nashings Chilale observes that investors will only be allowed to continue mining if they meet there demands.

“We have so many problems in this community. This is why the mine was closed after the community members were surprised to see the that the Chinese investors continued mining without meeting the demands of the community,” Chilale said.

Chilale disclosed that the community will welcome the investors only if they allow to adhere our demands.

“They have to develop this community first mainly before they start there mining, we need good water and other social resources. Honestly speaking, as a community, we do not want Faisal again because he failed to develop the community and if he will be given the license, will know it is corruption,” Chilale explained.

Natural Resources Justice Network under the Development Trust Committee met Chiefs including Sub T/A Mwakabanga who spoke heavily that his area needs to meaningfully benefit from the mining taking place at Illomba Granite Coy.

“I strongly call for those involved in corrupt activities no to be backed for 25 years, my area has only benefited one unfinished borehole. However, I request for cooperation and call for support from NGO’s for formation of our own mining cooperative and a development trust,”

A foreman for Illomba Granite Company Limited, Alex Phiri is concerned because Hassan failed to fulfill his promises of developing the community.

“I personally have been affected. My boss agreed to develop the community but to no avail. He only planted one borehole which is not even in Mbilima community but at GVH Chinzare community. I am very saddened,” Phiri said.

He said: “Apart from constructing one borehole, as a community we need good roads to ease traveling problems. Partly, we were depending on the mining to feed our families but with the closure of the mine, it has been bad for us.

While response in some areas has been good, other places are still facing different challenges.

The one borehole which was constructed last year in November in the area of GVH Chinzare,three kilometers away from Mbilima started being used in August, 2020 has brought in pressure challenges for people to have access to water.

A 26 years-old lady from GHV Chinzare community, Doras Silwesha chipped in saying the community has only been assisted with one borehole which has only eased a small percentage of what they wanted.

“One borehole is not enough and the community is too huge. We scramble for water all the time. We need more boreholes and other developments as well.This mining company has not helped us at all; the community has so many challenges that need to be developed,” Silwesha said.

Water challenges can be a pathway to addressing problems at Mbilima community.But also other challenges including hospital, maize meal, an electric transformer, and schools are still undeveloped.

One of the concerned citizens,Faidas Mkumbwa aged 96 said they travel a long distance to fetch water because of the scramble they face at one borehole.

“Three kilometers footing to fetch water at the new constructed borehole is just too much for us. Some of us from Mbilima community do not draw water that side instead, we draw water at a dam in our neighboring villages such as Nowa, Eneya Village and we draw drinking water at Songwe which is very far and Mwakalambo village. We don’t drink waters from other villages because they are contaminated with the remains of dead bodies,” Mkumbwa said.

Commenting on other social challenges the community is facing, Lide Mbeye added that a lot of social resources are at a distance.

“If we talk of a maize meal, we only have one maize meal which is very far from here. If I start off in the morning footing, it takes me about three hours to travel and if you talk of the hospital it is very far at Kapenda which is 12 kilometers. The challenge is that community has one under five clinics which operates once after two months,” Mbeye said.

She disclosed that barely with lack of hospitals in the community she once gave birth on her way to Tanzania border at Kapenda hospital.

“We face so many problems this side if you talk of traveling from here to where the hospital is we either use a motorcycle it costs us MK 1,500.00 which is very expensive for us instead, we chose to foot.

“I remember I had birth problems with my second child. The doctors told me to go to Kapenda Hospital on September 28, 2019, but my labor pains begun on September first. While footing with my sister going to the hospital on September 2, I gave birth on the road at a place called Kawoma,” Mbeye said.

Currently, a Development Trust Committee has finally been elected representing all the villages surrounded by the mine to champion a shareholding model citizen to move away from the 25 years of win-lose to win-win advocacy agenda.

The Development Trust Committee includes Samson Habonga, Harry Njabiri, Moffat Simkonda, Emmanuel Mnkhondia, Nashings Chilale, Maggie Siame, Deborah Malanga and Ollen Kayange.

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