Gold rush exposes Zanu PF factionalism

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A former senior Zanu PF official, George Makombe, has accused his party of using a shadowy empowerment plan to loot gold from the now famous Sherwood Block where large deposits of alluvial gold were recently discovered, triggering an unprecedented gold rush.

Makombe, a former Zanu PF Kwekwe Rural District Coordinating Committee (DCC) chairman, claims he co-owned the mine at which the gold was discovered together with one Robert Chipwanyira.

We have been barred from our mine so that some members of Zanu PF can loot gold with impunity under a thin veil of empowerment, said Makombe.

They have clearly broken the law by invading a mining claim which is legally owned by us, using the police force as a conduit. Midlands mining commissioner Willas Dube confirmed the mine belonged to Chipwanyira.

I confirm that Robert Chipwanyira is the legitimate owner of claim E&S 15, 16/8 Sherwood Block, Kwekwe, and is, therefore, entitled to access his claim and to conduct his mining activities thereon.

I know of no reason why Robert Chipwanyira is being stopped from conducting mining activities on his claim, reads part of a commissioned affidavit signed by Dube.

Makombe said they had since handed the affidavit and a letter from Dube to police in Kwekwe, but had not received any response yet.

Alleged invasion by illegals of 26367E and 15 R. G. Chipwanyira. . . this office has received a letter from Lesson Chauke alleging that there are illegals at the above mine, could you assist by removing them? Dube wrote.

Makombe, who fell out of favour with the Zanu PF faction allegedly aligned to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa before he was forcibly removed from his DCC chairmanship, accused the minister of targeting him.

I stood in the way of his wife when she wanted to be appointed into the (Zanu PF) central committee and this is why they have connived to take my claim from me illegally, he said.

Zanu PF provincial security officer Owen Mudha Ncube dismissed the allegations, saying the mineral wealth in Zimbabwe was fought for by Zanu PF and, therefore, belonged to the party and not individuals.