Government and mining companies united in illegal exploitation of mineral wealth in Zimbabwe
By Farai Maguwu
Today 14 January 2017, the Penhalonga residents decided they have had enough at the hands of mining which benefits only the country’s ruling elites. The Save Penhalonga Campaign, a non violent resistance to pollution and blatant exploitation of their gold, was earmarked to begin in earnest this morning.
However when the community submitted its notice of intention to protest against destructive and unprofitable mining to the Police last week, the local councilor and fellow organizer were summoned to Penhalonga Police yesterday morning.
They were given a ‘free ride’ from Penhalonga to Mutare Rural Police Station by the Officer in Charge at Penhalonga, One Ndou, A. At Mutare Rural they were heavily threatened with unspecified action. What was rather shocking is that there were two officials from British listed Redwing Mine who attended the threatening session at Mutare Rural.
Today the Police deployed heavily armed Riot Officers to Tsvingwe where they were menacingly roaming the dusty streets. I visited the area and saw them. Lessons can be drawn from the events of this week
1. Destructive mining in Zimbabwe is sanctioned and protected by the State
2. Whilst government has no resources to protect citizens from hunger and diseases such as typhoid, it has tonnes of ammunition to protect destructive industries from protests by affected citizens
3. Government and mining companies are united in the illegal exploitation of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth
4. Whilst Zimbabweans are an impoverished lot, the Zimbabwe government is a major donor of minerals to rich countries who get Zimbabwe’s minerals for a song. Dubai, India, China etc are major beneficiaries of our stollen wealth. President Mugabe last year said Zimbabwe, with a paltry $3.6 billion annual budget, had donated a whooping $15 billion dollars to the far East where most of Marange diamonds were syphoned to.
5. The Zimbabwe Republic Police is an unpatriotic police force in that it protects those who are looting our country whilst ready to pounce on citizens who want to protect our resources from plunder
What shall we do? The campaign to keep our minerals in the ground until we have caring leaders will continue. We shall continue to fight for a clean and safe environment for all Zimbabweans. Asijiki!