Zimbabwe Brand Tarnished by Violent Gold Gangs, Says Parliament

HARARE – The chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, Edmond Mkaratigwa, says it is the prerogative of the security services to curb the lawlessness that has become a menace in Zimbabwe’s gold mining areas, where there have been several killings by machete-wielding gangsters known as MaShurugwi.

The machete gangs have been linked to ruling Zanu PF leaders, who are alleged to be sponsoring the violence while looting the country’s gold reserves, but Mkaratigwa alleged that this was strategic lawlessness bent on disturbing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision of achieving a US$12 billion mining target by 2023. “It remains the role of the security services to quell lawlessness in the country, especially at the level to which it has escalated.

The Mines and Mining Development ministry recommends action, but the security forces enforce the directive. In the Mines and Minerals Act, there are gaps that provide room for conflict, which is why we have been pushing for implementation of the Computerised Cadastre System that is currently still being piloted. Unfortunately, … the violence experienced in the country appears to be strategic lawlessness that is targeted at tarnishing the country’s image, to destabilise markets of its strategic resource (gold) and ultimately, the US$12 billion target. In fact, relative to violence that I have termed low level, there is limited protection of the marginalised or vulnerable groups such as women and youths and, there has been no respect of other property rights.

Mining laws appeared to be superior to other investment interests, yet land as a factor of production is vitally multi-purpose; for example, it is key to our agricultural sector too. There is also limited recognition of small-scale miners to the extent that only established companies are, to a large extent, viewed as legal against the government thrust to also nurture small-scale businesses hence the need for their formalisation,” the legislator noted at the weekend.

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