President Emmerson Mnangagwa met with around 6,000 artisanal miners at a convention center in Gweru on Friday. The miners had gathered for an interface meeting with the president to discuss opportunities in the mining sector.
Many of the miners had to stand outside or sit on stairways as the convention center could not accommodate the large crowd. They arrived by buses, trucks and smaller vehicles, some covered in red soils indicating they came from gold mining areas.
The miners came dressed in work overalls and helmets, and some wore ZANU-PF regalia. ZANU-PF officials including Vice President Constantino Chiwenga were also in attendance.
President Mnangagwa arrived to the song “Kutonga Kwaro” playing, and danced as he made his way to the podium. In his address, he said artisanal miners contribute 60% of the mining sector’s foreign currency earnings, highlighting their important role in Zimbabwe’s development.
President Mnangagwa joked that there were no miners left at their mines due to the large crowd at the event.
“Chinhu chino chinogara 6 000 vanhu, saka kuma mine hakuna vanhu nokuti muri muno. Muchawana kwapindiwa imi.” (This hall can accommodate 6 000 people, so there is no one manning your mines. You will find some people illegally mining)
An executive of Miners 4ED said the Second Republic had opened opportunities for artisanal miners to develop themselves, their communities and the country.