By Rebecca Chimjeka:
Members of Parliament (MPs), under Agriculture and Irrigation Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee, have urged the government to re-deploy Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers to guard Namizimu Forest in Mangochi District where illegal miners have resurfaced.
The MPs made the suggestion on Thursday when Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Ministry Principal Secretary (PS), Patrick Matanda, appeared before the committee in Lilongwe.
Mangochi North legislator, Benedicto Chambo, informed the committee that buyers of gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi and Rwanda had returned to the forest.
“It is unfortunate that even the laws of the country are shallow. Miners could not be given stiffer penalties and the only sentence the court could give them was a suspended sentence,” Chambo said.
The committee’s chairperson, Werani Chilenga, quizzed the PS for failing to regulate the small-scale mining sector.
“It high time small-scale mines were regulated. We need an Act that can deal with illegal mining in this country,” Chilenga said.
Matanda told the committee that the government had outlined measures to deal with illegal mining.
“We have information that illegal miners are back at Namizimu Forest, and we putting up measures to curb the malpractice but I cannot divulge more information as this could jeopardise our plans,” he said.
In 2018, courts in Zomba and Lilongwe handed out suspended sentences to illegal miners.
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