SHURUGWI war veterans and some Chinese businessman embroiled in a bitter fight over gold claims on Monday convened an emotionally charged meeting at the offices of Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya in Gweru.
According to sources, Machaya halted the meeting before any agreement had been reached after tempers flared with harsh words being exchanged between the war veterans and Chinese businesspeople.
Machaya confirmed the meeting and said it would be reconvened at a later date.
The Chinese, who operate Jin Yang Africa (Pvt) Ltd allege that they bought the claims at Bonza Gold Mine in Shurugwi from a foreign businessman Francis Bester for $835 000.
MECA Syndicate, which consists of a group of war veterans, is challenging the eviction and approached Machaya’s office to help resolve the impasse.
Shurugwi Small-Scale Miners’ Association chairperson Isaac Muguti Chibendera, who is also part of MECA Syndicate, confirmed that no consensus was reached at the meeting.
“It’s true that we met at the Provincial Affairs minister’s office yesterday (Monday).
“The Shurugwi district adminstrator (Joram Chimedza), Bester, the Chinese and war veterans were present, but the meeting had to be called off without any agreement reached,” Chibendera said.
But a source said Chief Nhema’s brother, Never Daidai Nhema who attended the meeting purporting to represent chiefs, dismissed the war veterans’ bid saying they were not from Shurugwi.
This reportedly triggered the chaos.
“He (Never Nhema) said these ‘so-called war veterans’ do not stay in Shurugwi drawing the ire of the ex-liberation fighters,” the source said.
Though Nhema was unavailable for comment, Chibendera confirmed his attendance at the meeting.
“We were surprised when he came saying he represented chiefs.
“He even wore a chief’s badge yet we know only three chiefs in Shurugwi,” Chibendera said.