Over 200 subjects and landholders under senior chief Chiwala’s chiefdom of Copperbelt Province’s Masaiti District have applied for an order of injunction in the Lusaka High Court to restrain Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited from continuing to carry out any mining works or developments on their farmland and villages.
Jeff Murebwa and 223 others further want the defendants to be restrained from interfering with their rights and ownership of their properties and assets until the determination of the matter or until further order.
In this matter, 224 plaintiffs have sued Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited; Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA); Majaliwa Muwaya (sued in his capacity as senior chief Chiwala) and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited seeking a declaration that Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited has failed to address or mitigate the adverse social and economic impacts of their cement project on the plaintiffs’ land to acceptable levels.
Jeff Murebwa and 223 others, who commenced the action in 2013, further want a declaration that senior chief Chiwala has discharged the traditional functions of his office, contrary to natural justice and morality by failing to ensure that the interests of his subjects are protected in a manner that would ensure that all affected persons are fully and adequately compensated.
They also want an order directing Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited to subject all the plaintiffs to medical examination at the Pneumoconiosis Health Facility, Kitwe, as a consequence of the plaintiffs having been exposed to blasting fumes and dust by the said company’s activities.
The plaintiffs further want, among other claims, an order directing that the Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited’s operation be shut down until adequate compensation has been paid in full to all plaintiffs and damages for their loss of use of land.
The plaintiffs stated in their amended re-amended statement of claim that on August 3, 2012, Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited was granted a mining licence in respect of land in extent of 10.20 square kilometres or 1,020.3000 hectares by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development,.
They added that subsequently, Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited were granted in extent of 247.8010 hectares and 139.0000 hectares respectively, and that certificates of title were on April 15, 2014, and July, 2011 respectively issued to the said companies by government.
The plaintiffs stated that the said mining licence and certificates of title issued to Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited were issued to the said defendants in respect of land, which had been occupied and used as a residence and for farming purposes by the plaintiffs and their generations before.
They further stated that as a consequence, they (plaintiffs) had been denied and deprived their use and enjoyment of their land and had suffered loss and damage.
The plaintiffs stated that following the grant to Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited of the said mining licence and certificates of title, the said defendants took possession of the land previously occupied and enjoyed by the plaintiffs as the owners, and had since been carrying out extensive mining and manufacturing operations.
They added that the operations included, but not limited to, blasting excavation processing of the mined rock, thereby, resulting in considerable harmful and dangerous dust and fumes being generated and also loss of ground and stream water due to sunken water table and further damaged or cracked houses.
The plaintiffs stated that Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited and Dangote Industries (Zambia) Limited were obliged to provide them compensation in accordance with the IFC-World Bank Guidelines Performance standard 5 on the Land Acquisition and Involuntary Resettlement Plan, the Great Lakes Region, which they had failed and neglected to do.
“In spite of every effort having been made by the plaintiffs for the first and fourth defendants to adequately compensate the plaintiffs, herein, as they were obliged to do so in accordance with the existing law in Zambia, the first and fourth defendants have failed and neglected and continued to fail and neglect to do so and the plaintiffs have, thereby, suffered loss and damage,” read the statement of claim.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs have asked the Court to restrain Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited from continuing to carry out any mining works or developments on their farm land and villages.
According to an affidavit in support of application for order of interim injunction filed on December 11, this year, Charles Murebwa and David Murebwa of Murebwa Farm; Peter Mafinge of Suse village; Anold Musonda of Chingwele village and Obed Mandizvidza of Kalulu village in Masaiti District of the Copperbelt Province, stated that unless restrained by the Court, Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited threatens to continue with the mining operations or activities, thereby, exposing them and the other plaintiffs, their families and property to serious danger.
They stated that to the best of their knowledge, information and belief and as appears from licence details dated October 14, 2014, Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited was on August 3, 2011, granted by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, a large-scale mining licence in Masaiti District to develop and operate a cement project.
The five added that the said licence was in respect of land in extent of 10.2 square kilometres.
Charles, David, Mafinge, Musonda and Mandizvidza further stated that their villages were in one way or the other located within the area or land covered by Dangote Quarries’ said licence and that them and other members of the other villages were directly affected by Dangote Quarries’ said cement project.
“There are 234 farmers, including ourselves whose health, safety and livelihood have been adversely affected as a consequence of the existence of the first defendant’s said cement project, which covers almost the entire farm land and villages belonging to us and other plaintiffs, herein, and as a consequence, thereof, we and other plaintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer irreparable damage,” read the affidavit.
“As a consequence, the plaintiffs here have been denied the right to earn any income through working on our respective farms, which have been taken over by the first defendant and we and the plaintiffs have, thereby, been rendered into miserable destitution and have suffered considerable loss and damage.”
Charles, David, Mafinge, Musonda and Mandizvidza prayed for leave of the Court for an order of interim injunction to be made against Dangote Quarries (Zambia) Limited forthwith until determination of the action.
The matter comes up, December 23, before Justice C. Chanda in chambers for hearing of an application for an order of injunction.