By Romeo Takundwa
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been urged to provide 24-hour patrol services along Mazowe River by the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Senator Monica Mavhunga amid indications that illegal gold panners are continuously conducting their activities along the river risking siltation of the same.
Mazowe River is the major source of water for farmers in and around the whole province of Mashonaland Central including Bindura Municipality and irrigation farmers.
The minister made the remarks after visiting Bindura Water Station last week accompanied by the province’s security sector top brass and department heads from Bindura Municipality, the Environment Management Agency (EMA), Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
Speaking whilst touring the river to assess the damage, the minister said she was afraid that if the situation persists, Bindura Municipality was likely to start rationing water to its ratepayers whilst irrigation farmers run the risk of experiencing water challenges.
“We are also scared that the new pumps that were bought using devolution funds for the water stations would be destroyed,” she said.
Illegal gold panners are doing alluvial mining along the river from Mazowe up to Rushinga and conspiracy theories have it that they work with some members of the police.
Hundreds of them are now operating from Mazowe River after they were chased away from Kitsiyatota, Jumbo and Mazowe Mines.