- October 21, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
The reign of Napoleon Bornaparte, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler or Tshaka was characterized by wars in their quest for dominion. Strong armies were built and manipulated to dissuade, repudiate and conquer enemies of the state. Strategies differed in various ways but the ultimate goals remained the same, power, supremacy, national security and to some extent, prestige. Today, the world still finds itself in consistent conflict for supremacy. However the types of wars have taken a whole different shape, this entails that even the nature of the armies has changed too. The important sector which guarantees the national security of Zimbabwe has its soldiers in work-suits.
By Sharon Tsuro
The purpose of the army is to guarantee economic, environmental, health, resource and energy security. Every nation depends on the national army to strengthen the global system of allies. However, of essence is to note that the power of the army is solely dependent on the financial state of a nation. An army needs to be fed, clothed and trained using resources that come from the coffers of the state. Zimbabwe’s economy mainly depends on agriculture and mining. Mining constitutes sixty per cent of Zimbabwe’s exports. This sector contributes sixteen per cent of the gross development product hence it is pivotal in providing the financial security of the Zimbabwean nation. Mining is synonymous with war on so many levels.
The mine shaft is nothing but a hollow corridor that reeks of death and uncertainty therefore it requires courage and bravery to work. Sometimes lives are lost and in many cases, others are injured but miners do not despair, because seeing their nation prosper is what keeps them going. They consistently remind themselves that the end justifies the means thus with all those life-threatening conditions they work with passion, perseverance and patience. Although considerable efforts are being made to enhance a safe working environment, tragedies like the Kamandama mine disaster where hundreds of men lost their lives testify to the fact that mining is dangerous yet miners still toil and sweat from dusk till dawn extracting the resources which provide economic power and subsequently limiting imperialist motives which come sometimes in the form of foreign investments. Most miners cannot afford the proper education or capital required to do mining and mineral benefaction and this poses high risks on them but they are not limited by that. Most of these heroes in work-suits use the expertise passed down to them through generations from time immemorial. How can so much passion be underrated?
Just like in war, miners leave their families to work in the mines. Sometimes they are blanketed by the moon, stars and skies, for there are no proper structures to offer the comfort they need owing to the lack of capital and adequate resources in the case of the majority of small scale miners. Just as soldiers lose their hearing senses from the noise that comes from the blazing of guns, miners endure that from the noise produced by mining equipment. Though the use of PPE limits the exposure to dust, it does not eliminate it. Miners inhale dust that poses them to various respiratory diseases. These people make a lot of sacrifices and while one may argue that they get compensation for their efforts, it is vital to note that the small-scale miner never gets value for their efforts as they are only paid for the product and not the risk.
Small scale miners contribute significantly to the economy. Sadly they are the most disrespected by society and the national security forces. They are seen as mere villains, criminals and in most cases as suspects. The term “Makorokoza” is a derogatory name used to define them. A few weeks ago, in an article published by Mining Zimbabwe, the police detained small scale miners who were travelling well within their rights with the proper documentation that exempted them from the then Covid-19 lockdown order. It is said the police refused to even look at the documentation that they had with them, kept them at the station until two am. Let us forget about police conduct in this case but rather just focus on the disrespect of the miner it showed, they could have been carrying gold or valuable materials and this compromised their security. A lot of miners are going through hell at the hands of some of the security forces who either retard their progress or disrupt their operations for trivial reasons that in many cases do not hold water.
Zimbabwean security forces need to stand united with these soldiers in work-suits, fighting to secure the financial independence of the Zimbabwean nation for, without them, this nation would not thrive.
Small or big players in the mining sector play a pivotal role in securing the financial independence of the nation. They make unimaginable sacrifices but they are still not given the respect they deserve. On top of the efforts, they make they also have to grovel for respect and support from the society and national security forces. The miners constitute an army and should be treated as one. Miners are heroes conquering wars every day on every front. The heroes in work-suits should be hailed for without them, the national army would have nothing to protect and when the economy is bad the crime rate increases making the work of the police even more complicated.
Just as we have the tomb of the unknown soldier at the heroes’ acre, all the miners that have died in mine accidents, for instance, the hundreds of miners that died at Kamandama should be remembered. Their voices still speak as they died serving the nation. Minot J Savage once said, “The brave die never, though they sleep in the dust, their courage nerves a thousand living men.”
In a nutshell, miners put their lives on the line to promote and protect the financial independence of our nation, they need to be supported and respected for their commitment. The relevant authorities give due respect to the movements and operations of miners but some of the national security forces should not deter legal mining activities for whatever reason. Miners are treated as suspects when they are in fact heroes.
United we stand, divided we fall!