WASHINGTON DC —
More than 3,000 illegal gold panners have been left stranded in the farming town of Bindura, Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central province, following their eviction by the police two weeks ago.
This despite statements by First Lady Grace Mugabe and Zanu-PF Politiburo member Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri that their mining activities at Kitsiyatota would be regularized.
Mrs. Mugabe gave the assurance that they won't be evicted during a meet the people tour last year, saying it was part of government policy to empower the people.
Kitsiyatota is a rich piece of land where thousands had flocked to in an effort to eke out a living in a country that has an estimated unemployment rate of 90 percent. The official rate is 11.7%.
Sources at the mine say they had also paid $200 each to form co-operatives, adding they have lost their investment.
Efforts to get a comment from Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni were futile as her mobile phone was not reachable.
Bindura University lecturer Obediah Dodo, who carried out a study in the mining area and presented a paper at an international peace conference that discussed, among other issues, the plight of the miners, told VOA Studio 7 the situation at Kitsiyatora needs urgent attention.
The Zimbabwe Informal Sectors Organisation warned last Friday that a humanitarian crisis was looming in the area following the forced eviction of miners at Kitsiyatota.