By Criswell Chisango
Hurungwe, January 15, 2014 – Government officials including service chiefs, Zanu PF members are implicated in a looting spree following a gold rush in Hurungwe.
The area at the centre of controversy is under Chief Kazangarare where gold was discovered late last year within remote Mukanga Game Park in Chewore basin within the Zambezi valley that connects Hurungwe and Guruve. The area is situated about 70 kilometers north-west of Karoi where police and the army barricaded it as a ‘’security zone’’.
Several villagers under Chief Kazangarare are witnessing a high influx of top of the range vehicles including those of buyers, senior government officials including senior police and army battling to make ‘’honey while the sun shines”
Due to the poor road network, the panners are using Marongora road that stretches to 300 kilometers before reconnecting to Chewore north that covers Mukanga bordering Chief Kazangarare communal area.
A junior army officer who declined to be named said some senior army; police officers are paying “clearance fees” of $1 000 to Zanu PF officials.
“There are a lot of people coming from Kadoma, Shurugwi, Chiredzi, Mutare and Harare among other areas while some cars have foreign number plates’’ said Dickson Mabheka of Nhiti area.
However, Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba Mliswa denied allegations that his party is demanding “clearance fees” from those in the exploration errand in Mukanga.
He blamed officials from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate for “propping up the rot” and high level of corruption in mining sector.
“It is a scandal that the party must stop. Mines ministry officials issued six permits to prospecting companies for alluvial gold being sold straight to Fidelity Printers without much labour. Senior officials are involved in this open scam including Chief Saunyama of Nyanga looting gold at the expense of aiding the government economy. There is high level of corruption that must be exposed and stopped at all costs,” said Mliswa.
This has formed yet another chapter of illegal mining by security officers and traditional leaders as happened in the diamonds fields of Chiadzwa in Manicaland province.
Both ministers Savior Kasukuwere and Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.
“We have seen top army officers including brigadiers, colonels as well as senior police officers deployed there but no one will monitor their operations during this rush hour where everyone is fighting to get. There is a lot of confusion and they are making a financial killing,” added the source who refused to be named for professional reasons.
Zimbabwe is blessed with minerals including diamonds although the majority of citizens languish in poverty.