Mnangagwa visits Kwekwe farm, ignores nearby mine disaster scene

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By Leopold Munhende

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa had time to visit his Sherwood farm in Kwekwe Sunday but could not spare a few moments to make a stop at the scene for last week’s tragic mine disaster in Kadoma where dozens of artisanal miners perished.

A day before, Mnangagwa had told his followers during a ‘thank-you’ rally in Mwenezi that his government was saddened by the death of miners in the country’s worst mine disaster in decades. reporters who covered the disaster weekend witnessed his long motorcade speeding towards the capital along the Harare-Bulawayo highway just outside Chegutu mid-day Sunday as he made his way back to the capital.

As it emerged that the President had travelled to his farm over the weekend, there was great expectation that he may take time to visit the scene, some few kilometres from Kwekwe, in solidarity with bereaved families of miners who were trapped in floods at Silver Moon and Cricket Mines.

Mines Minister Winston Chitando visited the scene in which artisanal miners were the ones who went into the ground to bring the bodies of their colleagues to the surface despite the presence of better trained members of the Civil Protection Unit.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Mashonaland West Minister of State Mary Mliswa and Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna are some of the government officials who visited the site of the tragedy.

Nduna formed part of the team which was carrying retrieved bodies to police vehicles.

While 24 bodies of miners were retrieved weekend from the shafts, there were indications more were still trapped underneath.

Government weekend placed the number of those who could have died at 70 although fellow miners put the number at 100.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa refused to answer questions concerning the president’s failure to visit the scene.

“We will not be able to answer that question as we only deal with what would have come out of cabinet,” said Mutsvangwa just before chairing a post cabinet media briefing in Harare Tuesday.

Mnangagwa declared the tragedy a national disaster, paving way for government to mobilise resources for the burial of the victims and to meet related costs.

The President, once MP for gold rich Kwekwe, has been linked to the lucrative mining business in the area while his governing Zanu PF party has also allowed illegal miners the freedom to pan for minerals in its bid to win support for elections.