Army deployed to supplement salaries

zim_soldiersMUTARE - Civil Society groups have called for the immediate suspension of Zimbabwe from the Kimberly Process. This follows allegations of human rights abuses and the killing of people by security agents at Chiadzwa diamond fields. A team from Kimberly Process visited Chiadzwa diamond field last week to assess the mining and policing of the diamonds.

The Civil Society members include Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, Partnership Africa/Canada and The Green Advocates. The visit by the team follows a Kimberly Process inter-seasonal meeting held in Windhoek, Namibia from June 23 – 25, which was attended by the Civil Society.

In a joint statement presented to the team, Civil Society groups raised grave concerns over the military operations at the diamond field. They argued that the government of Zimbabwe was deploying military personnel at the diamond field as a cost-cutting measure on its ballooning salary scale. The Civil Society said it was a way of giving the army a source of income since the government had no money to pay them.

“The government knows that if the army personnel is deployed at the diamond field they might embark on illegal mining. Hence, we think that the government is doing this

as a way of reducing pressure to pay the soldiers,” read the statement.

The Civil Society then recommended the immediate removal of the military from

the diamond field.

The Kimberly Process team said that the Kimberly Review Mission should be

left to complete its mandate before a position was taken.

Post published in: Politics

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