FORMER President Robert Mugabe has allegedly taken the law into his own hands and unleashed Gushungo Holdings employees and security personnel to violently eject small-scale gold miners at the disputed Smithfield Farm in Mazowe.
Mugabe’s employees allegedly took over several mining claims, including gold ore destined for processing, and vandalised the small-scale gold miners’ equipment.
The miners were chased away before Mugabe’s people took over the area and started prospecting for gold themselves.
This was revealed in an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court on Tuesday by the affected miners – Shepherd Nyazvigo and Bright Mawonga – who claim to be the rightful owners of Mondo 4 mining claim, which is at the centre of an ownership wrangle between Mugabe and the artisanal miners.
“What prompted the applicants [Nyazvigo and Mawonga] to seek urgent relief is that on the morning of April 17, 2018, the respondent [Gushungo Holdings] deployed its employees, including its security personnel on the applicants’ blocks of mine and chased the applicants,” the two miners said in their founding affidavit.
“The respondent also confiscated the applicants’ mining claims, equipment and ore which the applicants wanted to take to the mill. The respondent’s personnel told the applicants that they were taking the ore to the mill as it belongs to them and they are already mining on applicants’ mining claims.”
The self-acting small-scale miners said Mugabe was acting illegally without any court order authorising him to do so and that they were suffering prejudice as a result of his unlawful actions.
“The applicants have no alternative option except to approach this honourable court, seeking urgent relief more so due to the respondent’s illegality as they are doing so without a court order,” they said.
“The respondent has taken the law into its own hands by acting in the manner it has done and was supposed to approach the court or take any legal route if it felt it had the right to the mining claims in dispute.”
The miners further argued the “law should not allow people to resort to self-help using illegal means” and that the status quo, which prevailed prior to the invasion of their mines by Mugabe’s personnel on April 17, 2018 should be restored.
According to the miners, they were granted an order to the same mining claims in December 2011 after suing the chief mining commissioner over the gold claims.
“The applicants were granted an order by this honourable court, barring the former owner of Mazowe Citrus Estates in which their mining claims are located from interfering with their mining claims,” they said and attached a court order by High Court judge Justice Mary Zimba-Dube issued on December 29, 2011, granting them authority to the mining claims.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.