MPs still barred from visiting Chiadzwa

chiyadzwa_diamond_fieldHARARE - The parliamentary Mines and Energy team has slammed the Mines Ministry for barring them from visiting the Chiadzwa diamond fields (Pictured), where reports of human rights abuses still surface.

The ministry has stopped the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee from touring the diamond fields twice in the last few months, despite insisting that conditions at the fields have improved. In a statement issued after the first visit was stopped in March, the committee said it was in the “interest of the nation” for it to tour Chiadzwa and report its findings back to arliament.

Chiredzi West MP Moses Mare said the move to bar them from touring Chiadzwa was “baffling” and in violation of their constitutional mandate of overseeing events in the sector. Mare was quoted as saying that suspicion of illicit dealings in the diamond sector would continue, as long as they remained barred from touring the Chiadzwa site.

“The portfolio committee has become irrelevant. Why do we need the justification of outsiders, when there are local bodies that have been set up to do just that?” Mare asked.

Mare and the other members of the portfolio committee were also left out of a tour of the fields over the weekend, which saw the return of the international monitor, Abbey Chikane appointed by the Kimberley Process. But Chikane has been implicated in corruption at the site after diamond researcher Farai Maguwu, who was jailed for more than five weeks, accused Chikane of ‘shopping’ him to the police. Diamond rights groups have called for Chikane to be dropped as the monitor to Zimbabwe, saying his position is ‘compromised’.

In the meantime, news of his weekend visit prompted a reported clean-up operation at the Chiadzwa mining site last week. Villagers there spoke of police and military officials driving out any illegal panners from the site to prepare for Chikane’s visit.

Post published in: Politics

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