Malawi’s Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Karonga Catholic Diocese and the Church and Society Programme (C&SP) of the Livingstonia CCAP Synod have vowed to fight exploitation of locals by mining companies in Rumphi.
The two civil society organisations (CSOs) made the commitment on Wednesday when they briefed various stakeholders in Rumphi on the start and objectives of two projects pegged at K14 million (about $35 000) and K11 million (about $27 500).
C&SP deputy director Jacob Nkhambule said its K11 million project, Advocacy Campaign for an Inclusive and Accountable Extractive Industry will target mining activities at Mchenga and Livingstonia coal mines.
He said C&SP, after an assessment in 2007, noted that communities were being exploited and benefited little or nothing from the mining activities.
Nkhambule said people were being poorly compensated and there were no tangible corporate social responsibility activities under way.
Karonga Diocese Caritas secretary, Father Denis Chitete, said CCJP will be implementing its K14 million Mining Industry Advocacy Capacity Building project, at Kaziwiziwi where locals are failing to appreciate the benefits of the mining industry.
He said as a church body, CCJP will ensure that the surrounding communities benefit from the mining activities and also get proper compensation.
Said Chitete: “We would like poor people at Kaziwiziwi to know their rights, demand them and defend them.
“There is also need to protect our natural resources and ensure that they benefit Malawians. Some of the resources are non-renewable and when they get exhausted without Malawians benefiting, then we defeat the whole purpose of owning the resources.”
Rumphi District Council director of public works, Allan Chitete, acknowledged people rights were being violated in the district as regard to the mining sector. He said there were several cases of poor compensation.
He said the council was also aware of environmental degradation and non-commitment to corporate social responsibility.