By Nhau Mangirazi
CHUNDU– Zanu PF Members of Parliament, Kariba Senator have voiced concern over suspected complicity by Environment Management Agency (EMA) officials turning a blind eye and failure to take remedial action to rehabilitate mineral plunder by some Chinese nationals that left a trail of destruction in Chief Chundu area about 65 kilometres north-west of Karoi town.
Radio Voice of the People gathered from Ability Gandawa (Hurungwe North MP), resident minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka (Hurungwe West MP) and Kariba Senator James Gumpo Senior who expressed ‘deep concern’ over EMA delays to bring suspects to book.
Primary investigations exposed how Chinese through Ndafunga Trading coerced villagers including headman Rodgers Dzebonde to accept a mining venture two years ago.
The area is within Hurungwe Rural District Council, Ward 8.
About 20 kilometres away another family in Mayamba was also duped mid this year that saw a farming area left on trails of destruction after promising that they will drill a borehole, facilitate in grading of the poorly maintained road as well as developmental projects in education, health as part of social responsiblity.
The Chinese were mining Rose Quartz Mineral.
Another villager Skin Chilongolo who objected Ndafunga Trading operations mid this year highlighted to EMA saying the miner had a ‘dark past’ when they failed to rehabilitate Kabidza area.
Hon Gandawa confirmed at the weekend that he visited Chundu area last week and is not happy.
‘A lot of things were not done correctly in Chundu. It will take time to get land sorted, after what the Chinese did as this is sad for our environment. A lot of things need to be done for the community. Am deeply concerned,’ said Gandawa.
Kariba Senator Gumpo added that he is worried that EMA are failing on their duties to protect the environment.
‘This is one of the issues am not happy about as it compromises EMA operations as a Government body. They must be accountable to the public. Why did they give a second Environment Impact Assessment certificate to a miner who had issues with the same community? Something is fishy as EMA must come out clean on Chinese operations in our province,’ explained Gumpo.
However, EMA provincial manager Rambwayi Mapako denied that they are favouring Chinese and turning a blind eye.
‘We have always taken corrective measures to ensure environment safety and that of our people. We are deploying a team to investigate Chundu cases that are part of our duty,’ he said in response.
But Mliswa-Chikoka decried that Chinese were allowed to abuse locals claiming it is investment.
‘We are not happy that some middle-men are working to aid land destruction by Chinese heavy machinery and no rehabilitation done. I have noted with concern pleas by some communities around Hurungwe and I will confront EMA boss (Mapako) for a workable solution and not mere promises of what they intend to do,’ said Mliswa-Chikoka.
Chilongolo revealed that they have been taken for a ride by EMA.
‘EMA are good on lip service against what they allowed Chinese to do here. We are living in fear together worth domestic animals as they left deep gullies and there is no trace of their whereabouts,’ complained Chilongolo.
Ironically, Ndafunga Trading was issued with a EIA certificate besides lack of adherence to environment requirements to rehabilitate affected areas, with James Gumpo Jnr, son of Kariba Senator playing ‘facilitation role’ on behalf of the Chinese operating above the law and remained ‘‘untouched’’ to country environment laws.
Zimbabwe Government has been battling to lure credible investors following the controversial land reform in 2000.
Efforts to rope in Chinese as part of Look East policy has been a dismissal failure without any valid investment for nearly two decades.