Violence Over Chinese Run Steel Making Project
16 November 2021

By A Correspondent- Violence erupted leading to the injury of seven villagers who have since been hospitalized after two traditional Chiefs clashed in Chivhu over the US$1 billion Chinese steel-making project.

The bloody clashes erupted between Chief Musarurwa born Enos Musakwa and Chief Mushava’s aides who are warring over the Manhize escarpment which is the site of the Government-approved Chinese Tshingshan Group Holdings’s US$1 billion dollar mining project.

Both sides are claiming ownership of the escarpment

A report by the Masvingo Mirror says seven people were admitted at Chivhu District Hospital last week following the violent clashes. Both Chiefs view the steel making project as a money spinner considering that mining companies are obliged to pay US$10 million to community share ownership schemes.

Apart from the US$10 million, the project is set to create 4 000 direct jobs and employ 10 000 others downstream, with local youths in Chivhu and Mvuma angling for these jobs.

The matter was reported at Chivhu Police Station.

Local ward Councillor Florence Mudzamiri confirmed the clashes and blamed Chief Musarurwa for trespassing into Chief Mushava’s area.

“I have been told about the clashes and I am told that seven people were injured and admitted at Chivhu District Hospital. Musarurwa is to blame, the area belongs to the vahera people and it is Chief Nyoka’s area.

“Even Vice President Chiwenga reiterated this at a function in Chivhu on Saturday. Musarurwa is the problem,” said Mudzamiri.

Police Spokesperson Paul Nyathi said he was not aware of the case.

The injured have been identified as Prosper Madzivire, Darlington Chinhamo, Namatirai Mudiwa, Learnmore Nharire and Tinotenda Chimondo. They had come from Chikomba area.

Chivhu Hospital is still waiting for X-ray results to establish the extent of the injuries which are suspected to be severe.

Chief Musarurwa and his aides allegedly went to Mbudzirume in Manhize which is at the border of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces. The area is also the border of several chieftainships.

While at Mbudzirume, Chief Musarurwa and his people allegedly performed rituals in a bid to appease his ancestral spirits over the Chinese project.

However, Chief Mushava’s aides emerged and warned Chief Musarurwa to stop the rituals after claiming that Musarurwa had trespassed into their area. Chief Musarurwa did not heed the warning.

At that point, about 15 men armed with logs who were using Chief Mushava’s official vehicle stormed the place and attacked Chief Musarurwa’s aides.

Asked about the incident, Chief Musarurwa declined to comment saying that he operated in the traditional way and does not give interviews to media.

In July this year, Chief Musarurwa was among several traditional leaders and two Government ministers who participated in rituals to appease ancestral spirits and welcome the Chinese company.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa is expected to officiate at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Chinese project this month.