THOUSANDS of Domboshawa villagers on the outskirts of Harare face imminent displacement to accommodate a clique of gold miners with strong links to the ruling Zanu PF party and top government officials, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
It also emerged this week that the fresh gold rush is happening without following proper channels, including an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and other licencing processes.
The community was also not engaged.
The matter has since escalated to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office as desperate villagers scrounge for help.
This follows reports of villagers in Mutoko and Murehwa who are facing eviction from their ancestral lands to pave way for Chinese miners.
In recent months, there have been an increase of cases where indigenous owners of the land are threatened with displacement to make way for mostly Chinese investors.
An association of small-scale miners under the Gold Miners Federation (GMF) banner, have in recent weeks led a gold rush in Domboshava communal area.
The gold claims span over five villages — Mazanhi, Muunganirwa, Ruzvidzo, N’andu and Chakavarika — which are home to religious shrines of national heritage.
Villagers are living in perpetual fear of eviction, considering that there is name-dropping of senior officials said to be backing the evictions.
Yesterday, angry villagers, led by their traditional leaders, met with government officials in Domboshava to air their concerns.
“What prompted the meeting is that during the past few weeks, people from the Gold Miners Federation were coming into the area following the discovery of gold in Nyamande, Domboshava. They did not bother to consult village heads. Villagers were angered when they discovered that some of the land had already been pegged,” said a highly-placed source who attended the heated meeting.
Information gathered by this publication shows that the area pegged includes Gasura Mountain, popularly known as Gomo raGabriel, a shrine for an apostolic sect.
Villagers said Chinese nationals have recently been seen with Zanu PF members in Domboshava.
Traditional leaders have complained that the displacements will affect the spiritual and ancestral links of many villagers.
The villagers claimed they feared that if the mountains were tempered with, there could be a repeat of the Chimaninimani catastrophe where homes and infrastructure and lives were lost due to Cyclone Idai in 2019.
A committee chaired by Alois Murisa and Nyasha Mhembere as secretary was formed yesterday to deal with the displacement threats.
“The committee’s mandate is to take the views of the villagers through the district administrator to the President’s Office. Village heads were tasked to meet Chief Chinamora,” the source added.
Sources said if any mining development were to take place, the community would be involved.
As previously reported by this publication, swathes of mineral fields have been controversially parceled out at an alarming pace, in what could be a scandalous mortgaging of natural resources to Chinese nationals.
Recently, it came to light that 1 500 Mutoko villagers are likely to be moved to make way for a black granite mine owned by Chinese investors.
In Mavuradonha, foreign miners invaded game parks to exploit chrome. A Chinese miner also got a claim in Hwange National Park for coal.
A top artisanal gold miner, who has information about the Domboshava area, said, “This area was pegged a long time ago and the real issue is that villagers should learn to wake up and take the initiative instead of watching others taking over their resources.”
Mines minister Winston Chitando could not be reached for comment yesterday.