Mvuma Town Goes To The Dogs

By Mark Mhukayesango

October 6,2015-Mvuma town has over the years degenerated into a  ghost town from
what used to be a prosperous mining town with so much promise
condemning thousands of residents to sheer poverty.
A drive through Mvuma town is a tedious one as there is no industrial
activities except a few small to medium enterprises struggling to make
ends meet were almost 75 percent of the population is unemployed.
The town is decorated with a few grocery shops, grinding mills,
recently opened fast food outlets and bottle stores which are also on
the verge of collapse as residents do not have disposable income.
Life in Mvuma has been made worse by the scaling down and subsequent
closure of Athens Mine which left hundreds unemployed in 2013, with
almost the entire staff sent home empty handed.
A century ago, Athens Mine was the largest gold, copper and silver
mine in the country.
With not much of agricultural production in surrounding areas of
Chirumanzu, coupled with droughts ,life in Mvuma has increasingly
become difficult as political leaders seem clueless on how to save the
situation.
Former Athens workers committee chairperson Silas Mhuka, says Mvuma’s
hopes of regaining its former glory drowned with the closure of Athens
mine.
Radio VOP spoke to unemployed youths who were seen milling around
Mvuma town centre and chronicled the hopeless situation that has
gripped the mining town.
Gracious Muzanenhamo, a bouncer at a local bar has never been formally
employed before and his hopes of finding a job at Athens Mine which
was seemingly prosperous at that time were dashed as the company shut
down.
“At 30 ,i have never held a payslip in my hands. It is difficult to
get a job these days so i resorted to working as a bouncer at the bar.
At least i get enough to feed my wife and son,” Muzanenhamo told Radio
VOP.
Local youths have resorted to petty crimes like shop lifting and
stealing from random people on the streets to eke a living.
“The few food outlets here can only take up a few people , thus many
youths are unemployed,” he said.
Chcken Slice and Chicken Inn have not taken up a sizeable  number of
youths in the area.
“Some of our colleagues were fortunate to get jobs at Chicken Slice,
but their contracts are not binding , hence their future is not
secure,”  a youth said.
With the unemployment levels hovering over 90 percent in Zimbabwe,
there are fewer chances forthese young people to find formal
employment after school but youths here have vowed to make a
difference in their lives through self sustained projects.
Like in other towns and cities, Mvuma town is awash with vendors,
whilst there is also a growing number of cross boarder traders who are
riding on the wave of the falling rand.
Even during the tenure of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa reign as
the Chirumanzu Zibagwe member of parliament, life in Mvuma has never
change.
“Notable”to his achievements in the constituency , Mnangagwa bought a
local football team a soccer kit.
The slow paced town has never had a serious industry, not to mention a
sustainable source of income for the locals, with some locals into
farming which is the mainstay of Mvuma, Chirumhanzu District.
Zanu PF ,Mvuma Councillor ward, 34 Tremendous Musara however paints a
somewhat unrealistic picture of life in Mvuma saying his party was
working hard to restore jobs to he ghost town.
“As community leadership , the future of this town is bright because
we have embarked on a number of projects to better the lives of our
residents,” said Musara.
Musara reiterated President Robert Mugabe’s ZimAsset gaffe saying the
blueprint was working for his constituency.
“Through collected efforts, we have been looking for funding for youth
projects and we can say that ZimAsset is working for us,” he said.
Investors have been shying away from the mining town as many mines
require recapitalisation in order to create employment.