By William Milasi
THE Zimbabwe National Army has moved to dislodge hordes of Zanu PF youths who had invaded a gold mine owned by a foreign company in the Midlands.
This comes after some Zanu PF bigwigs in the province were fingered as the ring leaders of the mine seizure and further allowing some party youths to mass into the property.
Gaika Mine is owned by Jersey-based and privately owned Duration Gold which acquired several mines in the country back in 2006 and kept them under care and maintenance due to the volatile political situation in the country at the time.
NewZimbabwe.com has established that the army and police have launched an operation to flash out the illegal gold panners who had become a risk to the area.
“The army and police have launched a joint operation to kick out the illegal gold panners who had invaded the mine. There is a currently a High Court order barring all gold mining activities at the mine,” source close to the developments said.
When this publication visited the mine recently, there was a heavy army and police presence.
Scores of gold panners were milling around the mining site.
A few who volunteered to speak to this publication confirmed that indeed they had been kicked out of the mine.
“We have been kicked out of the mine and currently we are not working on the site,” said one of the panners.
The operation comes against a backdrop of fierce fights amongst rival gangs over turf at the mine.
The violence orgies spilled into the community of Kwekwe and surrounding areas with reports on injuries and deaths in the hands of machete wielding gangs.
They have been calls to cease operations after the takeover as residents in the mining area are living in fear.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Owen Ncube has since slammed the violent acts and called on the police to act.
“Police must act on the violence which has currently gripped our city. Arrest anyone who is seen wielding a machete or a perpetrator of violence,” Ncube said.
The High Court has since ordered the Ministry of Mines to stop granting mining rights to Mbizo Legislator Vongainashe Mupereri after he reportedly attempted the mine takeover.
Justice Nicholas Mathonsi has also ordered police to conduct investigations at Gaika Mine, which was at the centre of the dispute.
This came after Carel Hendrick Meyer, the mine manager had approached the courts seeking an interdict on the illegal activities he argued violated property rights.
Meanwhile, a regional ant-graft body, the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA), in a damning report, said party bigwigs, were dangling gold mines as a way of gaining votes.
Mines Ministry Permanent Secretary Munesuishe Munodawafa told journalists in Gweru last week that it is government’s wish to see sanity prevailing at Gaika Mine.
“The issue of Gaika Mine is an issue which is before the courts. As government, we just want to see an end to this case and the rightful owners mining at the place again. We don’t want to spend time in the courts, but what I can just tell you is that there are some legal issues surrounding Gaika Mine,” Munodawafa said.