Lessons from Sherwood

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The chaos that has rocked Sherwood Block goldfields in Kwekwe is confirmation of what happens when the countrys natural resources are not properly managed for the benefit of the majority.

It was an error, right from the beginning, to allow former ruling Zanu PF youths to have a free-for-all in the goldfields without proper regard to economically and environmentally-sound procedures.

It is an undeniable fact that for a long time Zanu PF-aligned individuals and groups have gone into lucrative mining activities that have benefited not the country, but themselves.

But now that the Sherwood Block gold rush seems to have torn apart the Zanu PF Midlands provincial leadership and the party activists following a High Court order barring sales of the gold extracted from the disputed goldfields the party must draw the lesson that doing things in a disorderly and unsystematic manner does not pay.

Potential investors will see it as plain looting. Should the Zanu PF youths who have been used as cannon fodder eventually fail to get their dues after the court case is concluded, that should signal to them more than anything else can that they should desist from being used and abused by party chefs.

We have been told that we wont get paid until the matter is finalised at the courts after some papers were lodged at the High Court, one youth was quoted as saying. This means we might not get anything after putting in hours of hard work. This is disappointing.

It is good that former Zanu PF Kwekwe Rural District Co-ordinating Committee chairman George Makombe admitted there was something wrong with what happened at the goldfields and challenged politburo members in Midlands to end this looting by their peers and come out clean so that our supporters are not left bitter.

It is about time the culture of looting, which has become intrinsically entwined with the former liberation war movement politics, was stemmed as it bleeds the country dry for the benefit of a few.

It is about time the Zanu PF component in the rickety inclusive government learnt to do things above board to win the trust and confidence of a disappointed populace that has been taken for granted for too long.

The Sherwood Block saga must be used to reflect on what is happening in the countrys minerals sector, and set a standard of what should happen in the future in the event of other minerals being discovered.

It is time Zanu PF re-oriented its members to understand the importance of the rule of law and abandon the culture of free-for-all which started with the land reform and proceeded to Marange.

The legacy of that disaster should reveal what happens when people do what they like. Now lets see if anything salutary can come out of the debacle at Kwekwe.