SHANGHANI Gold Miners’ Association executive member, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, is set to take over as new Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) president tomorrow after she successfully filed her nomination papers unopposed for the post.
ZMF is the umbrella board representing small-scale miners, and its membership now accounts for more than half of the country’s gold deliveries as well as a substantial amount in chrome deliveries and other special stones.
The federation was formed in 2003 to help identify small-scale and artisanal miners’ needs and is also tasked with carrying out programmes to redress them in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act, Gold Trade Act and other laws governing mining with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development as its patron.
Small-scale miners last year accounted for 53 percent of the country’s gold deliveries and there is consensus that the sector’s contribution could still rise if the sector is mechanised and if leakages that dog the sector are cabbed.
Ms Rushwaya takes over from Ishmael Kaguru, whose executive’s term of office expired on April 26 and will be joined on the 12-member executive by the pair of Mr Marufu Sithole and Mr Christopher Murove who come in as first and second vice presidents after their respective nominations were unopposed at the close of nomination last Friday.
The trio’s ascendancy as well as nine other aspiring executive members, will be confirmed at the federations’ congress to be held in Gweru tomorrow where Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando is expected to be the guest of honour.
Contacted for comment, Ms Rushwaya flatly refused to discuss her new posting and her vision saying she will gladly do so after the federation’s congress tomorrow.
ZMF chief executive officer Mr Wellington Takavarasha, confirmed the election of the trio but said they will be confirmed on election day.
“Deadline for nomination was Friday June 8, so those who filed unopposed are now just waiting for confirmation by congress,” said Mr Takavarasha.
“Yes the notice you are asking about is authentic, I am the one who circulated it for the benefit of our membership.
“We will proceed with elections on election day for all other positions for which we have more than one nomination,” he said.
Ms Rushwaya rose to prominence when she ascended to the powerful post of Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) chief executive officer, but was hounded out of the football governing body on damning allegations of match fixing for which she was, however, acquitted.
Small-scale miners who spoke to this publication said her overwhelming support from the membership stem from the work that she has been doing in Shangani, especially the tribute agreement with Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation that has benefited several miners after Government lifted an EPO ban on Shangani that had been imposed in 1991.
The deal, which is largely credited to close corporation between Shanghani Gold Miners’ Association — where Ms Rushwaya is a member — and Government has resulted in the revival of work on Leechdale gold claims which are owned by Government.
The miners are of the view that the former national football boss is a firm leader who can push the artisanal miners’ cause, and engage with Government in addressing problems afflicting this critical sector.