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Public interest litigation as an empowerment tool: The case of the Chiadzwa Community Development Trust and diamond mining in Zimbabwe

By: Mutuso Dhliwayo

To address problems of exploitation faced by mining communities in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has used public interest litigation as part of a wider strategy to empower communities affected by mining. Although the public interest case highlighted in this publication was ultimately dismissed, it has resulted in a number of positive outcomes, including more communities asserting their rights and being given a voice to participate in policy and decision-making processes. ZELA has learned that in a context like Zimbabwe where both the political and legal frameworks pose formidable challenges, public interest litigation should be used as part of a wider set of legal empowerment strategies, including legal literacy, advocacy and community mobilization.