SMALL-SCALE women miners in Manicaland have accused top Zanu PF officials in the province of hijacking the Women’s Development Fund to only benefit ruling party supporters.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
This came out during a media sensitisation workshop on artisanal miners organised by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance in Mutare on Friday.
The miners said the fund, meant to capacitate women to meaningfully contribute to the country’s economy, was only benefiting mining groups linked to Zanu PF.
The funds were distributed through the Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development ministry.
“We have realised that known Zanu PF supporters were the only beneficiaries. We submitted papers to the Ministry of Mines offices for consideration, but we only discovered that those who were aligned to Zanu PF were the only ones that got the funds. I was openly told that I would not be allocated the funds because I am a known MDC supporter,” a small-scale miner, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said.
“Some of us submitted papers to the ministry long back, but others, known to be Zanu PF supporters, have their papers processed within a very short period of time through the influence of top Zanu PF officials.”
It is alleged that most of the women groups that received the funds had no proper mining equipment and the money was directed to other uses outside mining.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister Nyasha Chikwinya said the distribution of the funds was done above board.
“There is nothing like that. Everything was above board. We verified and scrutinised the papers fairly and we considered everyone regardless of party affiliation,” she said.
Chikwinya said her ministry this year distributed $260 000 in all the provinces.
“Let me also emphasise that those who benefited will be strictly monitored. We want to ensure that those who have received the funds must put them to good use. They should then be able to repay because it is a revolving fund,” she said.