More artisanal miners invade Grace Mugabe’s farm

The former first lady’s police report did not deter them. Quite the opposite happened. Local media in Zimbabwe report today that a larger group of artisanal miners has settled on Grace Mugabe’s farm in Mazowe, about 40 kilometres north of Harare. The miners say they won’t leave unless president Emmerson Mnangagwa asks them to.

The new arrivals have started digging for gold using pickaxes, hoes and shovels just a few metres from Mugabe’s sprawling soya bean crop. Last week, some 400 people were seen by the politician herself uprooting lemon trees in a different area of the farm.

All around the place, the ‘zama zamas’ are excavating shafts, draining water from the open pits using pumps, bringing out ore in tins and loading the mineral into lorries that continuously move in and out of the farm.

Many of the miners have been seen wearing Mnangagwa’s election campaign t-shirts and, according to The Zimbabwe Standard, they claim to be supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, also known as ZANU–PF.

The panners are also quoted as saying that what they are doing follows under the indigenisation policy that former president Robert Mugabe introduced and that since they are Indigenous people, they should be allowed to mine. They are allegedly getting about one kilogram of gold per day.

The Mazowe farm has been a battlefield of disputes since 2015 when, under Grace Mugabe’s command, police destroyed maize and groundnuts crops and forcefully evicted villagers to take control of the land.