ZANU PF Chimanimani East legislator Joshua Sacco has come under fire from his constituents who accuse him of involvement in illegal gold mining activities in the area.
Inside sources within the Environmental Management Authority(EMA) in Manicaland revealed that they were soon going to conduct ‘inspection in loco’ investigation on Sacco’s gold mining operations which were allegedly causing land degradation.
It was said that he was polluting the rivers with cyanide,thereby threatening the health of the community members.
Sacco however rubbished the claims and told this publication last week that he was in fact working on formalising the operations in tandem with government policy that champions mining in an environmentally friendly manner.
“Be wary of cheap political propaganda.
“We are working on formalising small scale mining in tandem with government policy to mine in a safe,sustainable and environmentally friendly manner,”Sacco said.
A section of youths in his community maintained that his mining operations are illegal.
“Sacco’s has three gold mills manned by his wife and yet milling is not allowed in the area.
“Before he was elected MP, he never did mining ,he is abusing office and disempowering the youths,”revealed a youth who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It is further alleged that Sacco acquired a mining grant dubiously, after misrepresenting to the Ministry of Mines that it was for youth development.
He allegedly formed a company called Mkwasha Trading and approached the Mines ministry purporting that it belonged to youths in his constituency.
Sacco acknowledged the existence of the company, but was quick to point out that it was a youth oriented venture.
“Well with Mkwasha Trading,the concept is to put up a milling centre to to provide services to small scale miners which are the youths,” he said.
“The negative narrative comes from those who were benefitting from illegal mining activities and don’t want to see formalisation to succeed,” he added
Sacco was also accused of hiring soldiers in an illegal operation where they chased away artisanal miners and shared the loot.
On this accusation,Sacco said it was above board.
“That was a national operation known as’Operation Chikorokoza Chapera’ and I did not hire any soldiers,” he said.
During the Cylone Idai period,Sacco was accused of abandoning his constituents and fled with his family.