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The unfolding incidents that is currently reported in Tanzania involving Barrick Gold Corporation and the communities in Nyamongo in North Mara is appalling.
To those who have not been to Nyamongo to talk with both parties (local community Members and management of the Barrick Gold Corporation) to hear their stories; would buy the propaganda that is being sold big time by Barrick Gold Corporation in Tanzania and confirmed by Ottawa.
When the first story of spillage of the toxic slur into river Tigithe was reported and the message was circulated far and wide; Teweli Teweli said affirmatively that, “The situation is a consequence of two factors: increased rainfall and vandalism to pond liners.”
The statement above carries with it a number of questions to any logical mind. One of the questions at the ground level is; how prepared is Barrick Gold Corporation in all her operations to curb risk situations that may come unexpected? A company with a big name as Barrick should know better how to make sure that measures are scaled up to take care of any of the unexpected incidents.
The other factor that would raise a questioning eyebrow is the second part of the statement from Barrick; why is it that anytime something happens that has negative impact on both humans and environment, the company only runs to say, ‘local community vandalises the infrastructure put in place?’
Allusion to Insignificance
I will not deny the fact that after looting and making the lives of the local communities very difficult, the same oppressed members of the community would be turned into the ‘black-sheep’ when evil takes place. It should not go unsaid that Barrick Gold Corporation even alluded to the fact that the spillage into river Tigithe was ‘insignificant.’
“Ongoing monitoring confirms that decreased pH levels (a measure of acidity) in the Tigithe River, which passes through part of the North Mara property, are limited to a small section of the river in the immediate area.”
From the time when the spillage was reported, more than 20 lives are reported to have been claimed and unnumbered livestock killed.
Reports on THISDAY the 26th June 2009 edition reports that, “They (community members) say more than 20 people have died in recent weeks as a direct result of the contaminated water. We have no problem with investors. But the investors must respect and treat us like human beings. These Canadians are killing us… they are not doing business,’’ said Ms Esther Mugusuhi, one of a group of affected villagers interviewed by THISDAY in Dar es Salaam.”
Apart from the fact that multinational mining venture have impoverished the local communities, the same is literally taking lives away from a people they should have embraced.
With all this Barrick in the person of Teweli Teweli still stands tall and unashamedly to dismiss the reports saying, “Kebasula Ward situated about 30 kilometres from the mine is too far to be vulnerable to any seepage from the mine’s sewage pond.”
Apartheid in Tanzania
At this juncture I am compelled to pose a question, when does a person cease to be a patriotic citizen and become a puppet to the destruction of his own people? I am disturbed by the way Tanzanians working and having their bread buttered at Barrick Gold Corporation treats their brothers and Sisters in Tanzania. It is sad that the same things that we heard from the South African Apartheid regime are today reported in within our won boarders.
I would not like to bore you with a lot of things but may I just take you down memory line on this one part in the Movie Sarafina where the character played by Mbogheni (Constable Sabela) enjoyed the applause of the white soldiers, kicked his fellow South African and later on laughed with scorn when the young man’s foot was torn by a dog set on him… this is sad and as I speak I cannot but think what would be the best thing to be done to such. In my heart and in the depths of my thoughts these people should have a millstone tied on their necks and thrown to the deepest of the oceans.
Denial will continue and Barrick Gold Corporation in its entirety will still have our leaders in their pay rolls but it should not surprise us. I wonder how many of us remember the first incident of denial. May I take you again down the memory lane?
Human Nature in Four-fold State
The first incident of denial in the development of human race was heard in the historical narrative of the Biblical Adam and Eve. The former and the latter would be rightly described with our modern time learned and sophisticated men and women as primitive.
Indeed they were primitive because they knew of only three if not four things; one, was their relationship and total loyalty to God – before they sinned, two was the relationship between them – as man and woman in the Garden, three; their relations with the other created living things, four; their relationship with the environment around them.
In all their ‘primitive’ state, Adam and Eve sinned and the knowledge of right and wrong was right there with them. In their very own conscience, they knew that something has gone wrong and the state of innocence has been taken away.
They also tried just as much as Barrick Gold Corporation is trying in Tanzania to hide from reality but at the end of the day the truth remains that Barrick Gold corporation in Tanzania have abused their hosts (who are the local communities) and now wants to hide behind a small tree assuming that no one has seen what they have done.
May be this is more technical to them (Barrick) to Understand. What I mean is, they behave like a child who has taken sugar without permission and when confronted they say ‘it wasn’t me’ when crystals of sugar shows on their cheeks.
There’s no reason for Barrick to continue in the ‘doctrine’ of denial thinking that it is new but face reality own up and take responsibility of their irresponsible behaviour. If their conscious and or business ethos wont click into their heads then they should look at the people who have lost lives, the ones whose skins look like have been passed through fire and think of the greater danger the continued spillage would cause in the East and central Africa and stretching towards the North of Africa through River Nile.