BY staff reporter
A MEETING to discuss a potential mining investment by a Chinese firm, Geoglobal in Dombashawa, ended in acrimony after a clash between Chief Chinamhora and legislator for the area, Energy Mutodi.
Chief Chinamhora, Lister Chidziwa, told NewsDay that he had called the consultative meeting yesterday with villagers and various government departments to discuss the possibility of an investment in quarry mining by Geoglobal, also known as Aihua Jianye at Garimo Hill, which degenerated into chaos.
“This company is still prospecting and they have not been granted a licence to mine, but we wanted the people to hear from the agents of the miner so that they can explain their proposal and also government departments to explain the processes and potential ramifications,” Chief Chinamhora said.
“But MP Mutodi (Goromonzi West) has been mobilising against the project, and spreading false information to the effect that the project has been given the greenlight after the miner allegedly paid off the chief, the (district administrator), the councillor for the area and other government officials to allow the project to go ahead. He has also been pulling figures from the air, alleging that 20 000 people would be displaced by the project. I have no idea where he got that figure from.”
He said Mutodi was not invited to the meeting, but imposed himself and brought a “rowdy and clearly boozed up” crowd, which disrupted the meeting at his instigation despite the presence of police in riot gear.
“This meeting was about investment, not politics and Mutodi is not a stakeholder in this meeting, so I did not invite him. For a start, Domboshawa needs this investment. There has been no development in the area of any kind in recent history and the area desperately needs it,” Chief Chinamhora said.
“The meeting was for the villagers to spell out their expectations and priorities and chart a way forward if they so wished. It was not the political forum that Mutodi chose to make it, claiming that the people did not want the project. It was clear that the people he brought were a rented crowd. Sources told us that he had been buying beer for them ahead of the meeting.
“I had no choice but to call off the meeting. We will advise the villagers on the way forward.”
But Mutodi told NewsDay yesterday that ‘people’ had rejected the project.
“The project has been condemned because the people involved in the whole issue, the district administrator, councillor and a company called GA Global did not do prior consultations with the people, now the firm has been going around trying to convince people to give in but that has failed,” he said.
“Their plan has failed (because) the Chinese have a bad reputation in other areas, where they have a record of not leaving anything meaningful for the locals. They do not develop, but rather leave a trail of destruction. The area they are targeting is a heritage conservation area and it is where the Bushmen did rock paintings so it must be protected for the future generations. There is need for further archaeological researches and many people stand to gain from that, so it is impossible for them to do their business here,” Mutodi said.