…reject Freedom of Info Bill as unfriendly
MUTARE – Many residents in Tsvingwe are not happy with the manner in which Redwing Mine is disposing of its waste, TellZim News can report.
Speaking at a recent public hearing on the Freedom of Information Bill hosted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting at the United Methodist Church (UMC) building, residents said the mine waste was putting their health at risk.
Munashe Zemo, an ex-employee of the mine, said the mine seemed not at all worried about the concerns that he said residents have always raised.
“They take our worries lightly yet we are suffering due to their activities. Some toxic dusty particles rise from their dumpsites and is inhaled by residents,” said Zemo.
Another former employee identified as Charles Karuza said even government departments were reluctant to take responsibility and confront the mining company.
“You go to the Ministry of Environment and express your worries and they tell you to go to the Ministry of Mines. They send you from pillar to post because they are not willing to take responsibility,” said Karuza.
Other residents said they opposed the Freedom of Information Bill in its current form as it allows officials to take too long before they released requested information.
“It means we will ask these people about why nothing is being done about the dumps and they will tell us to pay some money and wait for 21 days for the information to be released. We are ordinary, unemployed citizens. Where do we find all that money from? Information must either be cheap to access or must be free,” said Tadonha Mutasa.
Government is proposing three bills to replace the malevolent Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
The Freedom of Information Bill, in its current form, proposes that those who request information must bear the costs of its retrieval and officials may take up to three weeks before releasing the requested information.