SMALL scale miners under the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) have petitioned the Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando to call for elections to usher in a new leadership and replace the current one, whose term of office expired in April.
Mr Ishmael Kaguru is the current ZMF president, having taken over from Mrs Apolonia Munzverengwi who resigned before the expiry of her term to pursue national politics.
The Kaguru-led executive has however, failed to hold elections to usher in a new leadership, leading to disgruntlement in the miners’ Federation.
ZMF was formed in 2003, mainly to identifying small scale and artisanal miners’ needs. It is also tasked with carrying out programmes to redress them in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act, Gold Trade Act and other laws governing mining in the country.
Over the years, the sector has registered rapid growth due to the synergies between ZMF and Government. Last year, it delivered 53 percent of the country’s total gold output of 24,8 tonnes.
The sector has continued on a positive trend this year after hauling 4,2 tonnes of gold to Fidelity Refineries and Printers.
However, there are fears that the sector could experience a regress in the gains recorded so far if the boardroom dissatisfaction is not urgently addressed.
In a petition sent to Minister Chitando, in his capacity as the federation’s patron, the miners plead with him to stop dealing with the current leadership, whose term has expired.
The petition reads in part: “It has come to our attention that the three-year term of office of the current ZMF (leadership) lapsed on April 25th.
“By copy of this petition Sir, we kindly seek your indulgence as ZMF patron in assisting with the smooth transition of power through a democratic process of elections. Article 6.6 of the ZMF Constitution clearly states that the term of office for an executive lapses after three years.
“We also kindly ask the CEO (Wellington Takavarasha) to be the returning officer as per constitutional requirement under Article 6.4.9,” appealed the small scale miners.
ZMF president Mr Kaguru said it is wrong for the federation’s membership to insinuate that he is clinging on to power. He said his leadership is willing to hold elections but is currently incapacitated due to lack of funds.
“Yes, our term has expired, no one is contesting that, but the reason why we are yet to hold elections is because we are still mobilising the requisite funds to hold the elections,” said Mr Kaguru.
“We are actually meeting our patron, the Minister, on Monday (tomorrow) to tell him that our term has expired and therefore we are organising new elections.
“Members should be patient and give us time to organise the elections which will be held in Gweru at a date to be advised pending the mobilisation of funds,” he said.
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