BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
Zanu PF was last week forced to dispatch a high-powered delegation on a fact-finding mission to Mudzi district after illegal miners, who are its members, were driven out of gold-rich Makaha area under Operation Chikorokoza Chapera to pave way for legal mining activities.
The delegation was dispatched after some party members doing mining activities in the troubled area reported the matter to the provincial leadership during a meeting held in Marondera, accusing police officers of extorting and harassing them.
The members also revealed that some villagers were now living in hills following a crackdown by police.
Recently, at least 240 gold panners and vendors were arrested in the blitz in Makaha, where machete gangs terrorised innocent people through rape and armed robberies.
The Zanu PF delegation led by provincial vice-chairperson Michael Madanha met the affected villagers at headman Chimusinda’s homestead in ward 14 where they pleaded with the leadership to solve the impasse.
Zanu PF provincial youth leader Kelvin Mutsvairo, who was part of the delegation, confirmed the visit.
“We went to Mudzi on a fact-finding mission after our party members informed the leadership about their problems,” Mutsvairo said.
“We were told that some people are now living in hills because some people are claiming to own the place, while some police officers are reportedly extorting and harassing gold panners.”
He added: “However, we urged the youths to form syndicates and regularise their operations so that they won’t be affected by police operations. We want them to take the legal route and as a party, we will assist them in whatever way.”
A number of villagers living near Rwamba Hills have been fighting running battles with gold mine owners who want to extract gold on the hills.
Villagers have been resisting, demanding a chunk of the piece of the hill for their own mining activities.
Other top provincial Zanu PF officials who travelled to Makaha include secretary for administration Kudzai Majuru, secretary for finance Munyaradzi Kashambe, secretary for legal affairs Jeremiah Chiwetu, women’s league boss Lyn Gororo and youth political commissar Lincoln Matare.