Domboshava residents on the outskirts of Harare are facing imminent displacement to accommodate a clique of gold miners.
The fresh gold rush is allegedly happening without following due process, including an environmental impact assessment (EIA) and other licencing processes.
The community is crying foul for not being engaged and the matter has since escalated to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office as the desperate villagers scrounge for help.
The gold rush is led by an association of small-scale miners under the Gold Miners Federation (GMF) banner.
Its claims span over five villages — Mazanhi, Muunganirwa, Ruzvidzo, N’andu and Chakavarika which are home to religious shrines of national heritage.
Reportedly, there is name-dropping of senior officials said to be backing the evictions and the villagers are now living in fear of imminent displacement.
Information gathered by the Zimbabwe Independent shows that the area pegged includes Gasura Mountain, popularly known as Gomo raGabriel, a shrine for an apostolic sect.
Traditional leaders are concerned that the displacements will affect the spiritual and ancestral links of many villagers.
The villagers claim they fear that if the mountains are tempered with, there could be a repeat of the Chimaninimani catastrophe where homes and infrastructure and lives were lost due to Cyclone Idai in 2019.
This follows reports of villagers in Mutoko and Murehwa who are facing eviction from their ancestral lands to pave way for Chinese miners.
Lately, there has been an increase of cases where indigenous owners of the land are threatened with displacement to make way for mostly Chinese investors.
As previously reported by this publication, swathes of mineral fields have been controversially parcelled out at an alarming pace, in what could be a scandalous mortgaging of natural resources to Chinese nationals, sidelining local residents.
Recently, it came to light that 1 500 Mutoko villagers are likely to be moved to make way for a black granite mine owned by Chinese investors.
In Mavuradonha, foreign miners invaded game parks to exploit chrome. A Chinese miner also got a claim in Hwange National Park for coal.
A top artisanal gold miner, who has information about the Domboshava area, said, “This area was pegged a long time ago and the real issue is that villagers should learn to wake up and take the initiative instead of watching others taking over their resources.”