Karonga CSO Network calls for apology from Hara coal mine authority

Karonga Civil Society Organisation Network (KACSON) has asked Magoli Gondwe, owner of Hara Coal Mine in Karonga to apologize over what they call barbaric death threats to a Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) officer over bad governance issues at his mine.

On November 24, Gondwe was invited to a scheduled meeting with CCJP to discuss how to proceed on efforts to have the company compensate a victim where in response, it is alleged that he threatened to hunt down, smoke out and shoot the CCJP officer.

Speaking during a press briefing, chairperson for Karonga CSO Network, Jabess Nyirenda, described the threats by the owner of Hara Coal Mine to shoot CCJP staff as a threat to Extractive Industry’s good governance, Karonga CSO network and all stakeholders of good will.

“Threats by the owner of Hara Coal Mine are a threat to all of us as a whole since it threatens the very civic space on whose good governance in the extractive industry the network thrives, the network is therefore unequivocal in its condemnation of the behaviour.

Nyirenda - we demand an apology within 7 working days

“By threatening to shoot the officers, the Mine Investor intends to obscure efforts that the CSOs are making in addressing the plight of poor Malawians that are exposed to exploitation and Human Rights abuses at the mercy of Mining Investors not only at Kambenene but also other areas where mining is taking place in Karonga,” he said.

Nyirenda has since pointed out that the network demands for an apology to be made within seven days or further steps will be taken.

“Following the threats, we call upon the owner of Hara Coal mine to apologise to the officer he threatened within 7 working days, failing which further steps will be undertaken, and that Karonga Police should speed up investigations and open a case since the incident was already reported to them but nothing tangible has been done,” he said.

The network is also demanding the Ministry of Mines to seriously and regularly monitor not only the two mines but also all the mines in Karonga to ensure compliance with the Malawi’s Mines and Minerals Act {2019} requirements.

Reacting to the matter, Gondwe could not give in to the demands made by the network when he was asked by the reporter.

“I am not going to apologize and I will be very interested to see what transpires,” Gondwe said.

CCJP-Karonga Diocese and other stakeholders have been working in Chankholombe VDC in T/A Wasambo concentrating on mining governance involving the two mines that are extracting coal in the area.

Issues that are prevalent at the mines at Kambenene mines include labour rights violations, non-compliance to Occupational Health and Safety guidelines and general non-compliance to environmental guidelines which have led to the pollution to the environment.