The Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP has started offering psychological support to victims of the prospective Kanyika niobium mine in preparation for a court case.
Lawyers Victor Gondwe and Chancellor College’s associate professor of law MwizaNkhata are representing at least 240 households that dragged government and Globe Metals Mining Company to court to claim various damages following what they called “disruption of livelihood”.
Government earlier asked residents of Kanyika in Mzimba to stop conducting businesses on their land, including farming of crops like cassava, to pave the way for establishment of the mine.
However, for five year since 2012, Capital Hill and Globe Metals have not compensated the people and no developments have started on the land.
The development forced residents to seek legal intervention and they dragged the two to court to seek damages.
But in their submission to the High Court Mzuzu registry, both government and Globe Metals, who are being represented by senior State advocate Neverson Chisiza, have denied being liable for damages claimed by the victims.
Government and Globe Metals position on the matter has forced the Church and Society to offer psychological support to the victims so that they properly follow the case.
Church and Society Mining and Governance project coordinator Paul Mvula yesterday said the synod wants the victims to be prepared for the case so that they are able to follow the proceedings and be ready for the outcome of the case.
“Both government and the company have responded on the matter and are denying responsibility for the disruption of livelihood. So, we are trying to prepare the victims psychologically for the case,” he said.
Mvula said the synod will also be alerting the international community on the case so that they are aware of the suffering that the people have been subjected to.
According to documents filed in court, the residents seek declaration that the conduct of government and the mining company amounts to a gross and unjustifiable violation of the plaintiff’s constitutional right to property, economic activity, development and administrative justice.
They also argue that it is a breach of their statutory rights under Section 28 of the Land Act, and Section 5 of the Environmental Management Act; and a breach of contract and a commission of the torts of negligence and nuisance.
The residents want common law damages for breach of contract and/or negligence and/or nuisance.
The residents seek compensation in terms of Section 46 of the Constitution for the violation of constitutional rights.
They further seek payment of just and reasonable compensation for violations of their statutory rights under Section 28 of the Land Act and Section 5 of the Environmental Management Act. n