In May 2019, Chalangwa villagers stopped late President John Magufuli’s motorcade and allegedly lied to him that the investor was conducting mining activities in an area allocated for erecting of water reservoirs and that the area was a graveyard.
The statements prompted late President Magufuli to order the minister responsible to revoke the investor’s licence on explanation that the villagers had told him the truth.
However, later, some village elders went to the District Commissioner telling him that what was told to late President were lies and now they wanted another investor to continue with mining activities at Mt Kaputa.
Biteko visited the conflict area at the weekend and saw that the said water reservoirs and grave yard were very far from the conflict area and satisfied himself that the villagers had lied to the late president.
Thereafter Biteko convened a public meeting with villagers during which they admitted to have lied before the late President, adding that they did so because they did not want the investor – one Joseph Mwazyele in their village.
“We did not want him because he used to arrest our youth and take to the police station whenever the youth go to his area to collect stones.
“They also said Mwazyelke owns a firearm that he could use to shoot us,” said one villager, Michael Katembo.
He said after the late President ordered the revocation of his licence, he now believes the mining area can be allocated to another investor.
Speaking to the villagers, Minister Biteko said afte late President Magulfuli ordered revocation of the mining licence, he made some inquiries and found out the investor had applied for its extension.
He said following the revocation order, he decided to make further inquiries on what was said by the villagers.
He said after he went to the villagers he found that the villagers had lied to the late President and that the villagers were actually mining for gold within the graveyard areas.
And when he asked the villagers whether they still wanted the investor back, they said no, they want to mine the area themselves.
Thereafter he told them since they “had lied to the late President due to the presence of water reservoirs and graveyard at the mining area, then I order both the investor and you, villagers to stop conducting mining activities in the area until such time you sit together and come to some consensus.”
He instrucreds Chunya District Commissioner Mayeka Simon to oversee the area to ensure no one conducts mining activates.