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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: Mnangagwa’s roving bandits invade Domboshava

By Luke Tamborinyoka

First they came to Nyamande in my rural home area of Domboshava in a frenzied gold rush, looting the prime natural resource in this hallowed land of my birth at between nil and zero benefit to the local community.

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka

In the aftermath of the Nyamande invasion, we then saw the coterie of Mnangagwa’s cronies entering the fray in the same area, with ED’s social media frontman and AAG vice president Passion Java among them.

With Java and other ED acolytes, military generals and the well connected tummied lot among the invaders, we knew the voracious beast with its unquenchable appetite had entered our land.

MDC Alliance Vice President Hon. Tendai Biti calls them “roving bandits”—this clique of Mnangagwa brigands and close associates that are all over the country fleecing the nation of its vast mineral wealth for their own selfish benefits.

The kleptocratic lot in government is leaving no stone unturned in pillaging this country of its mineral resources— with no nagging conscience whatsoever about the grinding poverty that they leave leave in the communities from which they reap huge profits.

But the bandits continue to rove in my beloved Domboshava and are in fact expanding their catchment area.

Only last week, Mnangagwa’s children, relatives and some purported Chinese miners came to the northwestern part of my own neighbourhood in Shumba ward 3 just after Nyamande, pegging the place and telling bemused villagers they were taking over the area.

From Nyamande in ward 4, the gold “belt” reportedly proceeds to ward 3, past Ruzvidzo village that is just adjacent to Nyamande near the river Mwenda, past Mazanhi and N’andu villages in this area of my birth in ward 3 of Domboshava.

The pegged place has now been extended to Pasipamire village, just some two villages away from my own Tamborenyoka village.

At Pasipamire village, the whole area around the famed Gomo RaGabhureni(Gabriel’s mountain), has now been pegged in the gold rush specifically by ED’s cronies and children.

This is the sacred mountain where hundreds of members of the Vapostori sect from all over the country flock every day for spiritual healing. This famous zone for spiritual tourism is now under siege from the roving bandits.

They are closing in. The avariciousooters have now invaded my rural backyard.

Having parked their expensive cars in this desolate community, I am reliably told the marauding invaders, consumed by a huge cloud of self-importance, wrote down the names of the villagers whom they claimed are likely to be displaced by the mining activities.

I am told the villagers, some of them members of my extended family, remained numb, unsure of what to make of these strangers who unashamedly and viciously disturbed the area’s eerie morning silence for their own kleptocratic ends, with no concern whatsoever about the huge implications of their insidious crusade.

The roving bandits did not speak to the village heads in the four villages whose land they are targeting. Neither did they talk to headman Shumba or chief Chinamhora. After all, the Mnangagwa name presumably grants them all authority in the land. They are the ultimate authority.

They just looked around the area, summarily surveyed the land with strange machines, pegged down the area and began writing down the names of selected villagers whose ancestral land they are targeting.

More than a week after the frenzied gold rush in Shumba ward, the Shumba ward 3 councillor Alderman Sanyika, who is the chairperson of Goromonzi Rural District Council, belatedly urged locals to be involved in the mining ventures.

He was pretending to care, well after these voracious strangers and “foreigners” had been awarded 18 mining certificates in 48 hours to loot our ancestral land. He was informing the locals to take part well after the gold rush, without him informing them how he was going to assist them to benefit from their own resources. It did not help that he was informing locals well after the invasion, much like someone who tells you to wear a raincoat well after the rains have subsided.

No sekuru Murehwa. A caring councilor practically assists the locals to benefit from their own resources, not to just tell them to get involved in a WhatsApp group after almost 20 strangers armed with mining certificates have pegged off the whole land. And we know the corrupt and partisan way in which such programmes are done, much like the residential stands near Denda shops were awarded mainly to Zanu-PF youths, members of the women’s league and other top Zanu-PF elites. But that is a story for another day.

The roving mining bandits simply want to take away the wealth and leave a disembowelled earth and grinding poverty in Domboshava as part of their tenuous legacy. In Nyamande, the bandits have no plan to empower the local people and this well-connected political elite from Harare is spreading itself fast across my rural hood for no other purpose but to loot and leave.

Welcome to the Second Republic—-the purportedly new dispensation in which the country is wide open—-not for business but for home-grown theft!

I have blood relatives in N’andu and Mazanhi villages where a vast swathe of land has been pegged off. These blood relations of mine are worried stiff about the involvement of Mnangagwa’s children. They are not sure whether they will give them latitude to negotiate a deal that will be good for themselves and their families as they plunder their land in pursuit of wealth.

Welcome to the Second Republic.

Last Friday, the roving bandits were back again in my rural hood, their purring massive 4×4 engines sending a unique hushed gesture for disturbed souls to keep their peace.

This time, the Chinese investors and ED’s children were in the company of yet another Mnangagwa relative, one Henrietta Rushwaya of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation; she of the infamous six kilograms of gold bullion in the much-publicised case that apparently appears to have died a natural death.

Mnangagwa’s close security team that comprised Stephen Tserayi, Gift Karanda and Rafius Mupandauya were in her company when Rushwaya was arrested at the airport, in case, dear reader, you were in doubt as to whose interests Henrietta represents in her vocation of looting and plundering the country’s mineral wealth.

She has certainly come to my rural home for more gold, this time with Mnangagwa’s children in tow.

Welcome to a purported President who is simply a thief.

And now he has brought his thieving crusade, his roving bandits, right down to this place where I live, where I was born and where I grew up.

When you begin to steal in Domboshava, for me it becomes personal!

My life is rooted in this land called Domboshava. My late father Ernest Tamborinyoka Gombera hailed from this land where he lies buried today. My late mother Pelagia Makumbe hailed from Makumbe village, a princess of this hallowed land of the Chinamhora chieftainship.

I am married to Susan Banyure of Banyure village near Denda shops here in Shumba ward. I did my primary education at Tsatse and my secondary education in my mother’s village at Makumbe Mission, now called Visitation High School before proceeding with my tertiary education elsewhere outside this hallowed land of my birth and upbringing. The point is that my whole life and my entire kinship revolves around Domboshava, this place that is now at the mercy of ED’s roving bandits.

Mnangagwa’s sleaze and avarice has now reached my doorstep. And he has a history of not caring about the effects of his well publicised record of plunder.

We are talking here of a man who is an international criminal, a man that the United Nations has singled out as having been at the epicentre of the looting of the vast diamond resources in the DRC at the turn of the millennium.

A report by the UN Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146 chronicles in detail how the diamonds in the DRC were looted with Mr Mnangagwa as the chief culprit. And it is that damming report that vindicates my submission that ED is simply an international criminal.

Now he has come down to my village to plunder our God-given wealth in our villages without a plan of how to benefit the local community. For me, this tiff is now personal. This is the same Shumba ward whose rugged road from Sasa turn-off is riddled with potholes and has become barely impassable.

We have not forgotten that while addressing a rally at Showground in Domboshava in April 2018, Mnangagwa said Shumba was his totem and he would ensure that the road is tarred before 2023.

This is the same rugged road on which his cronies have returned, not to fulfil his electoral promise, but to displace villagers and plunder the country’s mineral wealth under their houses.

In the week that the people of Zambia dislodged his friend Edgar Lungu just across the Zambezi, perhaps there is hope for the people of Zimbabwe in 2023. But perhaps ED has realised a leader can wake up one day a very ordinary citizen as his friend Edgar Lungu did early this week. He has probably decided to loot as much as possible while he still can.

As they say in a Nigerian proverb: The big iroko tree is not usually scaled , so one must get as much fruit as possible while they are still atop.

It may not be far-fetched that the there will come a time when the bandits will rove no more; a time when they will be rotting in prison and not looting in Domboshava.

The choice is clear for ED on what will happen to him after his time in office. He will either spend his time in a very large office as a revered former statesman or in very small cell as a convicted criminal.

We can all see what he is choosing.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa . You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @luke_tambo.

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