MDC says Zwizwai diamond killings denial unfortunate and inaccurate

mdc_logoLast week Murisi Zwizwai, the MDC Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, told a meeting of the Kimberley Process in Namibia there were no killings in the Chiadzwa diamond mining area. In spite of widespread accounts the official told the international scheme, that tries to curb the sale of blood diamonds, that claims of massacres that took place in t

But on Wednesday his own party distanced itself from the Deputy Ministers comments. The MDC said in a strongly worded statement that Zwizwais remarks were unfortunate and inaccurate.

Zwizwai had told delegates at the Namibian conference: Contrary to allegations in the media, nobody was killed by security forces during an operation at Marange, where about 30,000 people descended onto the alluvial mining field.

These people comprised of cunning, die-hard illegal diamond diggers. This compelled government to conduct a special operation to flush out the illegal diamond miners and to bring order and sanity to the area.

However, his MDC party said in their statement: We view the remarks as premature and inaccurate in the absence of an investigation into the murky dealings in the Chiadzwa diamond fields where a lot of things happened out of the public eye. Hon Zwizwais claims are therefore fact-hostile and evidence-free.

The party called for a thorough investigation by the inclusive government and Parliament into the goings-on in Chiadzwa. We believe that a thorough investigation will enable the inclusive government to come clean on what really transpired before senior government officials seek refuge in denial, the statement said.

Human rights groups have called for Zimbabwes expulsion from the Kimberley Process, as a result of gross rights abuses that took place in Maranges diamond fields. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights estimates that 5,000 people were arrested by soldiers, some of them tortured and there were even claims that scores of people were buried in mass graves to hide the regimes murderous activities.
Most recently, Human Rights Watch issued a detailed report of ongoing abuses including hundreds of cases of child labour.
At the same time Marange MDC MP Shuah Mudiwa, who has been jailed for seven years, was reportedly ready to reveal the location of a mass grave site where the victims of the massacre were allegedly buried.
In Wednesdays statement, the MDC said whatever happened at Chiadzwa remains shrouded in secrecy as there is no public information as to how much the country has accrued from the diamond fields where ordinary Zimbabweans were displaced to make way for politically-connected fat cats and politicians.

The party reiterated that there are unconfirmed allegations of mass graves and massive looting which cannot be easily dismissed in the absence of an investigation.

We were not able to reach the Deputy Minister for a comment.

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