Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu has been implicated in a mining dispute at Doyana, Umzingwane in Matabeleland South province where locals allege that his sons-in-law were mining against their will.

Doyana villagers have been embroiled in a mining dispute with Heywood Mine owners, who they accuse of invading their area and snatching the mining claim from a local villager.

Villagers claim that 10 years ago Mpofu reportedly visited the area and collected a mining certificate from one of the villagers, a woman now aged 70 who had discovered gold in her field.

The villager, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressed concern over the fraudulent seizure of her mining certificate by the gold mining company called Heywood Mine, which is allegedly linked to Mpofu's sons-in-law.

Mpofu, however, vehemently denied the allegations when contacted for comment last week on Wednesday.

"I don't know anything about Heywood Mine," Mpofu said.

Heywood Mining Company is also accused of invading a school, graveyards and fields at Ntola. It is also accused of invading and taking over some settlements at Esikhawini.

"I am heartbroken and disapprove of Heywood Mine continuing with its mining activities in my home. In 2012, Mpofu, then the Minister of Mines and Mining Development came to my home and grabbed my mining certificate," said the distraught elderly woman.

"They said they wanted to make an extension of the block in my mine so as to promote indigenisation. Mpofu and his friends disappeared for a year, until l made a follow up; only to find out that l was robbed. I have lost my mining claim to Heywood miners and the company is protected by the Protection Order which unsettles me. I am now getting scared of seeing people with guns roaming around my home."

Further claiming that there were rumours that soon she would be ejected from her property and relocated to another place she added: "How can I be moved from a settlement that was set up long back? I am over 70 years old now and I can't think of constructing another home. I will never allow these people to walk over my head and snatch away what is mine. I know that Mpofu is after money and who says I also don't want money?"

A Zanu-PF member in the area, who also refused to be named said: "It's so sad. There are anti-riot police officers with guns who protect the mine from the disgruntled villagers. Our school-going children are afraid of seeing people with guns and so is the owner of the home where the mining peg is situated.

"The villagers are complaining that Zanu-PF is abusing people and this is tarnishing the party's name ahead of the 2023 elections. They took away her licence, and withheld it until the licence lost its validity and then registered the claim under their name."

Source - NewsDay