Blood-sucking diamond poachers

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party has been accused of running a parallel fiscus through which diamond revenues are being fleeced for the benefit of the well connected, at the expense of national development.

Addressing a conference convened by the South African Institute of International Affairs and the Heinrich Boell Foundation on the subject of Zimbabwe's Diamonds, two prominent Zimbabwean civic leaders called for legislation to regulate the proper extraction and management of diamond revenues to benefit the Zimbabwean people.

Dewa Mavhinga of the Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition and Farai Maguwu of the Centre for Research and Development said they believed in the accurateness of Finance Minister Tendai Biti's reported estimates that at least US$1 billion in potential revenue to the national treasury remained unaccounted for.

Biti has been fighting a seemingly losing battle to exert more control over the diamond revenues from the Marange diamond fields which the state seized in 2008 after a diamond rush by illegal panners.

Mavhinga and Maguwu said the disappearance of diamond revenues was largely a result of the parallel fiscus that was being run by Zanu (PF) outside Biti's official finance ministry. From that parallel fiscus, diamond revenues were directed to uses that did not benefit the Zimbabwean people.

Maguwu presented a detailed report which showed that illegal mining activities by members of the state security apparatus still continued at Marange with the diamonds being smuggled through Mozambique. Other concessions at Marange were now being mined by consortiums of the Zimbabwean government and several Chinese firms.

It is obvious that Zanu (PF) officials are looting the Marange diamonds with very little going into the national coffers. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has frequently complained that the state receives only 'peanuts' from Marange. Does Zanu (PF) expect anyone to believe that they are acting in good faith on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe?

After the catastrophic violent land-grab, Zanu (PF) is now on the path to pull Zimbabwe’s mining sector into oblivion. The potential consequences of this scheme could be catastrophic indeed and much more far-reaching than the failed land grab.

Mining is Zimbabwe's largest source of income, dominated by a 1.5 billion-dollar

platinum complex owned by South Africa's Impala Platinum, the biggest producer in the world.

Failure of the mining sector in Zimbabwe could have fatal consequences for the whole country. These Zanu (PF) looters headed by Mugabe cannot be ignored anymore. Their actions are now so serious that they have the potential to wipe out generations.

Zanu (PF) must not be allowed to reverse the gains made by the coalition on the economic front by their ruinous activities. The mining industry was the fastest growing sector of the economy this year, recording 47 per cent growth.

Let’s stop these looters NOW. – ZBN

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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