MANGOCHI – Civil Society Organisations in Mangochi have threatened to hold demonstrations in the district and vigils at the national assembly from Wednesday to force government to re-deploy Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers in Namizimu forest.
The soldiers would help in chasing the illegal miners who have resurfaced in the forest, they argue.
Monday’s The Daily Times newspaper also quoted Mangochi North Member of Parliament Benedicto Chambo as calling for the same action from government saying buyers of gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi and Rwanda are back in the forest.
Speaking to local press , on Monday, vice chairperson for the CSOs in the district, Dickens Mahwayo said they are surprised by government’s decision to withdraw the soldiers from the forest.
“We plan to mobilise chiefs and religious leaders so that we force out the miners with the help of the soldiers. Why did soldiers leave the place just after five months of the operation? We also want to push government to devolve mining functions to local government. We also had some foreign nationals that were arrested as illegal miners but we are not aware how the case ended,” Mahwayo said.
Spokesperson in the Ministry of Energy, Mining and Natural Resources, Sangwani Phiri has however expressed ignorance on the matter.
He said so far, they have not received any report on the return of illegal miners and therefore could not comment on the prospects of sending back the soldiers to the forest.
The issue of illegal mining in the Mangochi dates back to early 2018 forcing the CSOs and the community members react to avoid the challenges that follow such actions
Credit : Kulinji