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Illicit flows sponsor Zanu PF campaign

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ZANU PF plans to use funding from illicit gold-mining sources in Mazowe and Penhalonga to partly fund its campaign for next year’s crunch general elections, a new probe has revealed.

BRENNA MATENDERE

 According to the Centre for Natural Resource Governance investigative report, titled “Zimbabwe’s Disappearing Gold: A Case of Mazowe and Penhalonga”, Zanu PF intends to use gold proceeds to finance its 2023 poll war chest.

“The link between illicit gold mining activities in Penhalonga and Zanu PF fundraising campaign for 2023 was further confirmed by Zanu PF Politburo Member Patrick Chinamasa who said in February 2022 that government was going to repossess RedwingMine and give it to artisanal miners linked to the ruling party because the owners had allegedly failed to run it.”

“This is despite the fact that government of Zimbabwe criminalises artisanal mining. The remarks, made during the launch of the Zanu-PF campaign for the 26 March 2022 by-election in Mutasa South where Zanu-PF candidate Misheck Mugadza eventually beat the CCC candidate and former Member of Parliament for the area Regai Tsunga, gave a glimpse of the political economy of artisanal mining in Zimbabwe.”

 Zanu PF faces a grueling challenge in next year’s elections from the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens’ Coalition for Change. The report also revealed that as the nation inches closer to next year’s polls, Zanu PF politicians have been turning to gold to fund their campaigns.

 “The artisanal mining sector, one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Zimbabwe, goes beyond just enriching the politically connected gold barons, but is also assuming a huge political role. Politicians are controlling artisanal mining sites where they use their political and economic muscle to organise artisanal miners to vote for the ruling party during elections,” reads the report.

Researchers who compiled the report also revealed that changes to Zanu PF’s resource mobilisation committee which is now packed with officials with a gold background are telling.

 “Scott (Sakupwanya) has risen to the apex of the gold cartel within a space of four years. His tentacles have also spread to the political circles. He was named in the recently unveiled Zanu PF Resource Mobilisation Committee responsible for fundraising for the party’s 2023 campaign. One source suspects gold is central to the party’s fundraising strategy — hence the appointment of Scott,” reads the report.

 It adds: “The modus operandi at Redwing and Mazowe gold mines, both owned by Metallon Corporation and now partially taken over by Zanu PF officials, is the same. Several other closed mining companies in Zimbabwe have also adopted the same model.”

“These mines have been leased to Zanu PF officials or politically connected businesspeople who employ artisanal miners for provision of cheap labour. The companies have avoided operational costs and possibly statutory obligations as well as regulation and compliance that come with properly operating a gold mine in Zimbabwe. The companies have subtly evaded full accountability of the gold production from mines.”

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