A fierce gold rush has erupted in Kwekwe where thousands of illegal gold panners have descended on Sherwood Block, about ten kilometres outside the city following discovery of gold deposits by Amaveni Suburb residents.
Illegal gold panners from across the country swamped the block now referred to as “gold fields” following reports that some lucky panners had come across pure gold nuggets in the area.
The gold find triggered a spending spree in night clubs around Kwekwe where panners from Amaveni who had been lucky were buying expensive drinks for patrons.
Two lucky panners who are reported to have cashed in $40 000 each after selling gold nuggets picked from the field are reported to be camped in Harare were they are looking for cars to commensurate with their newfound wealth.
Police armed with guns and dogs were dispatched to the goldfields on Wednesday to control the situation which had become chaotic after groups of vigilantes had taken control of the area and were demanding “tax” from the panners.
Announcing the takeover of the area at a rally attended by hundreds of panners who had been chased away from the fields by police, Zanu PF Midlands, provincial security officer Owen “Mudha” Ncube said the gold deposits in Sherwood belonged to his party.
Mudha said Zanu PF had fought in the liberation struggle to ensure that Zimbabweans owned their land and the minerals in it and therefore had rights to control who mined at the fields.
The Sherwood Block mining claim is now registered to Cornelius Mpereri a close ally of Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zanu PF secretary of legal Affairs) and to Josphats “Gold” Sibanda who also attended the rally.
Zanu PF has started compiling registers of people who will be allowed to enter the fields to mine the precious metal.
“Only the sons of Midlands will be allowed to enter the fields and they will do so through party structures, those that are not known within the party will not have access and those from outside the Midlands will not be allowed here,” said Mudha after chanting numerous party slogans denigrating the person of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe Mining Federation Midlands chairman Anorld Mandava confirmed the claims now belonged to Sibanda and Mpereri who would be given a certain percentage by panners who found gold from the claims.
“The panners will be let into the fields in groups and will be allowed to keep a certain percentage of what they find while they also give Sibanda and Mpereri their share.”