The Premier was accompanied by Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Mines Minister Obert Mpofu for the tour, which included a visit to the key mining firms there; Anjin, the Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC), Mbada and Marange Resources.
Tsvangirai was last year barred from touring the site, which remains a controversial centre of alleged human rights abuses and rampant diamond smuggling. These concerns led to Zimbabwe being barred from trade for more than two years, a sanction that has since been lifted.
The Prime Minister said on Thursday that the government desperately needs revenue from diamond sales, saying “we regard diamond revenue as a major contributor to the fiscus.”
“We hope that as we appreciate the operations, government is able to formulate policies that will contribute largely to the fiscus,” Tsvangirai said, adding that he was satisfied with the current operations.
Tsvangirai meanwhile made no mention of this week’s report by international rights group Global Witness, which warned that diamond cash could be used by ZANU PF for a campaign of violence. This is despite Tsvangirai’s own party members set to bear the brunt of this campaign ahead of fresh elections.
The report details how top military and police officials are listed as directors of Anjin, while the Mbada firm has an ‘opaque’ ownership structure under the leadership of a Mugabe loyalist, Robert Mhlanga.
Global Witness raised concern that this partisan influence, as well as complete lack of transparency in the revenues from diamond sales, could be shoring up ZANU PF’s efforts to remain in political power. The group said “if the next election is accompanied by violence there’s a real risk that any bloodshed will be funded by diamond revenues.” SW Radio AfricaPost published in: Africa News