By Draxon Maloya
Scrupulous Chinese investors are continuing to wreak havoc on Malawi’s mineral resources with impunity while also depleting the already fragile natural resources in the process.
It is not long ago when the Tanzanian government impounded a truckload full of gemstones excavated and smuggled through unchartered routes from Malawi on its way to China.
Member of Parliament for Rumphi-West Yona Mkandawire becomes the latest whistle blower to raise an alarm about the illegal mining activities taking place in his constituency near Kapiri Primary School where a lot of natural trees have also been destroyed.
Mkandawire revealed that the mining activities were being carried out in collusion with a Malawian whom he did not disclose but claimed the Chinese were behind all this because people have reported having seen some Chinese nationals supplying excavation machineries.
“It is sad that someone has been refuting the information we got that some Chinese nationals are getting our minerals illegally and exporting them to their home country, now here is the evidence.
“The Natural Resources Committee of parliament has a very huge task to deal with such issues, but as the MP here how can these miners start working in my area without my knowledge? whether they connived with the District Commissioner’s Office or the chiefs I don’t care, I will find out the truth about this,” Mkandawire said.
Project Manager in the Mining Department for Church and Society Programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia Paul Mvula said relevant authorities are sleeping on duty while expressing the need to trace the miners and those who granted the mining rights.
“The community needs to know whether they are indeed legal miners, otherwise we are calling upon District Councils to pull up their socks and stop such illegal activities within their areas of jurisdiction,
“There is a need for a quick statement from these officers, otherwise they should not be sorry if communities will take up the law into their own hands in an effort to claim their rights, this also pose a security concern to Malawi where you have foreigners going about into the villages and doing all sorts of things without following proper procedures,” Mvula said.
Minister of Energy Mining and Natural Resources Binton Kuntsaira expressed ignorance about the mining activities taking place in Rumphi district and he called for an investigation into the matter.
“I cannot comment much on the issue yet because I have just seen it posted on social media as you are aware that am out of the country attending to the global summit on natural resources, but it is imperative to investigate and find out as to whether the said miners followed the normal procedures before they embarked on mining activities in the district,” Kuntsaira said.
The latest economic report released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) shows that Malawi’s extractive industry has the possibility of contributing more than 20 percent to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) if prudently managed.
In a related development last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union disbursed a grant of K18 billion to Malawi in support of the Public Finance Management Reforms dubbed `Chuma cha Dziko` Programme.