Civil society organisations (CSOs) and chiefs in Mangochi have accused communities and stakeholders in the district of lacking a “united front” to deal with illegal mining activities in Namizimu Forest Reserve.
The CSOs have said lack of cooperation among communities and stakeholders around Namizimu, located in Traditional Authority Makanjira, is contributing to the illegal mining practices.
The concerns were raised on Tuesday during a meeting the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) conducted to collaborate with communities in the fight against illegal mining.
The accusation comes on the heels of reports that illegal miners from countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi and Rwanda, who were flushed from the area last year, had resurfaced.
Group village head Saiti Mwadzuwa from the area said it is worrisome to note that some communities are harbouring the foreigners.
“In our communities the foreigners have warmly been welcomed and have found a fertile ground. Some have even married our daughters to transact their illegal business with ease. These are the people who are perpetuating the malpractices of mining,” he said.
Mwadzuwa said government is responsible for protecting the forest reserve from illegal miners but this is not happening because there is no proper collaboration between government and the communities.
Commenting on the matter, NCA resource governance officer Abingtone Mwenitete said their objective is to see people in the community benefit from the mines. “We are going to solve this illegal mining problem by engaging the district commissioner, natural resources justice network and members of Parliament [MPs],” he said.