By Billian Matambo Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU)/4/04/2018
One can wonder whether the relationship between military and gold panners will ever reach a level were conflict is resolved amicably without force .Life is not easy for the illegal miners who resides in the mountainous area of Chimanimani.
Four armored lorries full of armed soldiers invaded Rusiti area bursting all gold panners operating from Tarka forests to Chimanimani mountains down to the boarders of Mozambique. This happened the afternoon of 3 April 2018. The issue causing a sour relationship between the two is that the soldiers are saying Mozambique is complaining that Zimbabwean gold panners are responsible for polluting water in upstreams which feeds into Rusitu River . While contrary the gold panners in the terrains of Chimanimani are pointing their fingers at the Mozambican gold panners who operates downstream that they are also causing water pollution. So the Zimbabweans are arguing that they are not going to stop mining till Mozambique remove its panners first if they really want clean water downstream.
The soldiers from Chipinge visited the terrains unannounced and it was a game of cats and dogs with the artisenal miners who tried to escape though with difficulties due to the wet ,muddy slopes. With the soldiers threatening not to leave till the water was clean most of the miners were arrested. Its a pity that the concellor of Muchadziya, Mr Matayi tried to negotiate with the soldiers but only a few gold panners were released.
Water is being polluted yes,with massive deforestation but my recommendation the government must legalise artisenal gold panners and taught them best and responsible mining that do not pollute water. Should be given claims in the terrains of Chimanimani as it is in Shurugwi and other areas and also the use of dangerous chemicals like mercury must be discouraged.