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Residents petition Parliament to force Chinese company from Green Pool tourism site

Hon Miriam Chikukwa and other parliamentarians on way down into Green Pool during a fact finding visit

By Elvis Dumba

Mutorashanga – Residents of Mutorashanga in Zvimba North Constituency petitioned Parliament to bar a Chinese mining firm, Amazon Mine from drawing water from a collapsed asbestos mine which has become a tourist attraction known as Green Pool.

The mysterious pool which is around 72 meters deep has become a leisure spot for tourists and scuba divers with its water level remaining stagnant all year round since 1952.

The residents want the place declared an official tourist attraction and the Chinese firm to be barred from tampering with the pool.

A Joint Parliamentary Committee which included Home Affairs, Defence and Security, Tourism and Environment, Mines and Development Committee led by Hon Miriam Chikukwa visited the site on a fact-finding mission where they received submissions from the community.

Samson Mugwagwa told the parliamentarians that the pool is associated with traditional culture and foreign visitors flock to the pool whilst the community is benefiting anything from the site whose proceeds are being enjoyed by a few individuals.

“We have written to you so that we benefit from this natural resource in our community which is being enjoyed by few individuals who come outside this community, ” he told the parliamentarians.

Mugwagwa said the site has the potential to generate foreign currency and create local employment if there is an official recognition of the site as a tourist site.

“We only see people coming to this site through various tourism agencies yet the community is not getting anything. There is potential that if the place is formalized there will be employment creation and the community will benefit from associated developments which will be brought about by the place as a tourist centre,” he said.

Clemence Gonde said a Chinese mining firm, Amazon Mine which is processing its chrome nearby should be stopped from degrading the environment around the pool and barred from using the pool water in its activities.

“We are worried about the degradation of the environment. As you can see, the Chinese miner put a road just close to the pool and they had plans to pump water from the pool in processing their chrome. As a community, we were never consulted when these Chinese miners came. Besides degrading our environment, there is no benefit to our community from these Chinese miners who do not even bother to work on the roads they use. Our request to government is that they should allow us to enjoy our resources by declaring this place a tourist attraction centre,” he said.

Zvimba Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer said his office has been receiving similar requests from Mutorashanga community and said whilst the site is part of the provincial tourism master plan, the mining activity has affected progress.

Hon Miriam Chikukwa said parliament will look into the matter and come up with recommendations concerning the matter.

Residents claimed that the Chinese miner was bribing few individuals to operate in the area while the Chinese claimed the water is poisonous as a way to draw out the water for chrome washing.

“This water is safe. People have been swimming here including triathonilist Mark Marabini who once participated in a triathlon in these pools years back. There is aqua life. All we want is this pool should be protected and benefit the locals if the government is serious with its ‘no place or person should be left behind’ mantra,” he said.

Giving a vote of thanks, Zvimba North Constituency legislator Marian Chombo thanked the community for being pro-active in demanding protection of their resources.

“I want to thank you for being a responsible community that ensures that resources are protected and for boldly demanding that there are steps put in place by authorities to ensure that community resources benefit locals. Parliament has heard your concerns. I believe they will come up with a good decision on your concerns,” she said.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende