By Ezelina Kamaliza
Communities in Mangochi on Wednesday held peaceful demonstrations against illegal gold mining activities in the district.
Speaking to Newsline, organizers of the protest said illegal mining has brought social-economic problems to communities in Makanjira, Nambavi and Mangochi district as a whole.
According to Publicity Secretary of the organizing committee Dickens Mawhayo, Mangochi is losing out on development due to unregulated mining activities, saying illegal miners and foreigners are the only ones benefiting.
Mawhayo said there has been an increase in land degradation and deforestation due to encroachment by the miners.
“There’s an extensive environmental deforestation and degradation. An area of about 58 hectares has been affected whereby there is no any tree and apart from that the top soil has been removed. There is also a lot of siltation in Lake Malawi.
“There are other crucial issues ranging from child prostitution, school dropouts to teenage pregnancies,” Mawhayo bemoaned.
He further stressed that the people are not against the discovery of gold in the area, calling on government to enforce existing legislation to deal with the malpractice.
“The people of Makanjira and Nambavi are mindful that when there is a mineral in the area, the area develops through corporate social responsibility. The people are asking government to flash away all illegal miners and invite big established companies that can be given permission to start mining so that the communities can start to benefit,” he appealed.
The protest was organized by the Network of Civil Society Organizations in Mangochi and community members.