Traditional leaders and spirit mediums from Mashonaland West Province will conduct a cleansing ceremony at Silvermoon and Cricket 3 mines in Battlefields, Mhondoro-Ngezi, where 24 artisanal miners died after shafts were flooded following a heavy downpour.

Thirty-two artisanal miners were trapped by flash-floods which hit the area, leaving 24 dead while another eight survived the ordeal after spending four days in neck-deep water. Government had raised fears there could be as many as 70 artisanal miners trapped in the mine shafts.

In an interview in Chegutu early this week, Chief Ngezi, who is also the provincial chiefs council chairman for Mashonaland West, described the tragedy as sad.

“The disaster, which occurred in an area under my jurisdiction, calls for the appeasement of the dead people’s spirits,” he said.

Chief Ngezi – born Peter Pasipamire – said they had Government’s full backing to conduct the cleansing ceremony.

“As traditional leaders and our spirit mediums, we are organising a cleansing ceremony at Battlefields were artisanal miners perished in their numbers.

“We need to mine our resources peacefully, but after this tragic event the area might be cursed, therefore, there is need for appeasement of the deceased’s spirits,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Ngezi, who also represents traditional leaders in Senate, called for the speedy implementation of devolution. He said the traditional leaders were ready to support the concept.

“Devolution is the way to go as it allows each province to run itself while maximising on its strength. As Mashonaland West we are in full solidarity of devolution which we feel should be fast-tracked.

“The Great Dyke passes through our province, agriculture is also our mainstay here so as a province l think we are more than prepared for it,” he said.

Traditional leaders will play a pivotal role in the successful implementation of devolution as they are the permanent custodians of people, natural resources as well as flora and fauna.

Government has set aside at least US$300m for devolution.Herald