Community divided over Chinese plunder in Chundu village

CHUNDU- Some villagers including a family has been divided over Chinese plunder of minerals amid revelations that losing Zanu PF candidate in Hurungwe Central is part of the confusion headlining the area through illegal mining operations.

Losing Zanu PF candidate for Hurungwe Central James Gumpo Jnr who claimed to be working as ‘facilitator’ when Skin Chilongolo stood his ground against mine operations revealed that ‘money exchanged hands’ 

‘I know what Chilongolo is going through and demands are valid but a lot of money exchanged hands, The Chinese paid for a mine that never produced anything in Kabidza and are being forced to explore yet another area. By any costs, they are bulldozing to make life easier for them. The mineral is not of best quality and may be another futile exercise again,’ he revealed in an interview.

Chinese mine operators had equipment including an excavator at Chilongolo rural home to kick off operations under controversy, confusion, deep divisions among the family and community last week.

According to a document sent to relevant authorities including Hurungwe District Environment Management Agency officer, Hurungwe District Administrator as well as Hurungwe Rural District Council, the Chilongolo family expressed concern over suspected land degradation that was likely to be poised by a Chinese mining company operating under Ndafunga Trading that left a trail of destruction in Kabidza within the same Ward 8 under Chief Chundu.

Skin Chilongolo who authored the letter dated 21 February 2019 and, in our possession, said they were against the mine that was to be established at their only home in Chundu, Mayamba by a company operating as Ndafunga Trading Pvt. Ltd. 

‘‘We were not informed or engaged as the affected family. The move was taken without notifying and consulting the following family members as a family: Feresi Chilongolo, Taviringwa Chilongolo, Hamundide Chilongolo, Skin Chilongolo, Takesure Chilongolo and Shupe Chilongolo. The above are the beneficiaries of the land left by the owner Kamunowe Kamuhungwe Chilongolo and Edith Chilongolo as parents. There is no sole owner of the land. The one left in charge by the family ancestry in Shona custom as the representative father of the above family is Skin Chilongolo,” read part of the letter.  

We are against the mine- Chilongolo

In a hard-hitting letter, Chilongolo says, ‘‘We will not allow such operations at our home village unless enough consultations are done to us as a family.  We have to discuss the issue as a family for we are not miners but farmers. The company dug out Rose Quartz sample stones without notifying us. We are not happy about the land degradation about to be caused by the mining activities without taking necessary mining establishment procedures on the land occupants,”

However, Chilongolos’ efforts for justice has hit a brickwall as Chief Abel Mbasera, local councillor Tavengwa Muringanisi ‘arm-twisted villagers that the venture was productive as it was to create employment for youths in the rural outskirts.

He added that he has been to several offices seeking justice on mining rights against communal farming where the family are fighting each other as only one brother Takesure who is the youngest had agreed while five other members were against the move.

“I am surprised that the majority are being denied the right for a fair hearing and justice on our land,’ said Chilongolo.

Councillor Muringanisi said consultations made had seen villagers accepting the mine operations.

‘We did our part and speak to Chief Chundu who is the focal person in the deal” texted the policymaker.

However, Chief Chundu who is a Senator was elusive saying the matter was discussed last week on Friday during a Ward development meeting.

“You have to ask the Chinese if they have mining papers’ responded the traditional leader.

When confronted over a document that he signed giving the Chinese greenlight to mine, arm twisting villagers including Chilongolo who were against the mine operation, Chief Chundu was elusive saying he had fined the miners for ‘not consulting him traditionally,’

Rumours- Chief Chundu

 He later added, “These are rumours spread by enemies. Anyway, there is no way I can shut down (sic) visitors with documents and I believe they are genuine after all.”

However, officials from EMA are not happy over Chinese operations in Hurungwe and are working to get how the ‘papers without district or provincial officers’ knowledge’ according to our sources.

 ‘The Chinese are claiming that the Rose Quartz is of substandard and may quit operations again after digging 30 tons of the mineral ore,’ said Chilongolo.

 As the battle of transparency in mining sector, Chinese are creating another cold war among communities with a trail of destruction that they have been allowed to get away with murder here.

Chilongolo like headman Rodrick Dzebonde in Kabidza, they are suffering in silence over Chinese abuse of environment around Hurungwe within Mashonaland West and the nation at large.