Mugabes election fixer given command of diamond fields

bob_matibiliHARARE - A loyal senior army general close to President Mugabe (pictured) has been given control over the lucrative Chiadzwa diamond fields in a move aimed at buying loyalty.

Brigadier General Douglas Nyikaramba, who covertly took control of the presidential election machinery to ensure the veteran leader’s victory in the 2008 run-off vote, has been handsomely rewarded with command of the worlds richest diamond fields.

His promotion gives him power to run the 3 Infantry Brigade in Mutare. He takes over from Brigadier General Richman Ncube, who, it is believed, has been demoted for failing to rein in junior who were scrambling for diamonds. There have been reports of soldiers shooting each other in squabbles over the gems.

Our military source said the swift movement of Nyikayaramba is designed to restore discipline and sanity. It is also meant to ensure the loyalty of the senior military commander by giving him illicit access to Zimbabwes mineral wealth.

Our source said Nyikayaramba had been rewarded for his unwavering loyalty to

Mugabe and Zanu (PF) since 1980. He has played crucial roles in at least two elections won by Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

During the 2005 legislative vote, he was the chief elections officer for the Electoral Supervisory Commission. And following Mugabe’s loss in March 2008, he was placed in charge of a national command centre in the capital. This became the headquarters of the electoral machinery that gave the military control of the collation and publication of results from around the country. This crucial organisation was declared off-limits to Tsvangirais election agents and journalists from the independent press.

He ostensibly retired from the army shortly before votes were cast after complaints about the armys role in the poll, but a few months after Mugabes re-election, he was back in his job.

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