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‘Mnangagwa bribes traditional leaders with mining titles ahead of elections’

The decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to grant authority to traditional leaders and war veterans to acquire mining titles has been described as a bribe to buy their support ahead of elections.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday announced during a post cabinet briefing that government had availed mining titles to traditional leaders and war veterans as part of efforts to broaden the participation of communities in the mining sector.

She went on to cite chiefs and the syndicates that they were given.

“Following the boom in the mining sector, Government has seen it fit to broaden participation of communities in the sector.

“To that end, Cabinet wishes to advise the nation that it granted the request by the following traditional leaders to acquire mining titles in reserved areas for the benefit of their communities: Tefra Mining Syndicate (Chief Marange), Goromonzi Mining Trust (Chiefs Rusike, Chinamhora, Chikwaka), Chinamhora Mining Syndicate (Chief Chinamhora), Chiwara Mining Syndicate (Chief Chiwara), Bere SP Mining Syndicate (Chief Bere) and Budiriro Mining Syndicate (Chief Chiweshe),” Mutsvangwa said.

Cabinet also approved a proposal through which part of the Mashava Reservations held by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will be allocated to 11 syndicates.

“These syndicates will be from each of the eight administrative districts of Masvingo Province with three other syndicates being solely for youth, war veterans and women to supply chrome ores to Zimbabwe Zhongxin Smelting Company (ZZSC).

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“The company is a new ferrochrome smelting project based in Mashava, Masvingo Province with capacity to generate about US$88 million and create 200 jobs locally,” Mutsvangwa added.

Pride Mkono, an opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) aligned activist accused Zanu-PF of trying to capture traditional leaders by giving them mining tittles.

“It’s obvious that Zanu PF is going for broke when it comes to vote buying. This is part of the transactional politics which has become the hallmark of Mnangagwa’s presidency since the coup in 2017.

“The whole affair is about capture, primitive accumulation and violence, traditional leaders are part of the fold and they are being paid out to tour the line,” he said.

Traditional chiefs are not allowed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Chapter 15.2, to support any political party. But most of them have been defiantly registering their support for Mnangagwa in the past years.

In 2021, Chiefs’ Council president Fortune Charumbira openly amd embarrassingly defied the national Constitution and declared that chiefs were the owners of Zanu-PF.

“On behalf of all chiefs and headmen, I want to say, we are together with Zanu PF,” Charmubira said during the party’s annual conference in Bindura.

“We got invited through a letter and that letter showed who we are. We were invited as delegates, but if you go to the start, we are the owners of Zanu PF.”