The Marange Resources firm has appointed Tshinga Dube, a former chief executive of the Zimbabwe Defense Industries (ZDI), as its chairperson. Dube, a former senior army Colonel is also a top ZANU PF politician and a member of the party's supreme decision-making body, the Politburo. Dube was also a board member of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) for eight years.
Marange Resources is owned by the ZMDC and operates one of four concessions mining at Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond fields. It is also one of the companies that have been cleared by the international diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), to export its stock.
"Given the important role diamonds are going to play in reviving our economy, I consider this appointment to be an important national responsibility which I shall try to execute diligently with my colleagues and my seniors," Dube is quoted as saying by the Financial Gazette.
Dube’s history in handling diamonds has previously raised international concerns and he was named in the past in a United Nations report of top army personnel who were involved in the looting of diamonds in the DRC. Meanwhile, his son Mthulisi Dube was also arrested in 2007 for the illegal possession of diamonds and gold. That case never went to trial.
Tiseke Kasambala, a human rights campaigner with Human Rights Watch which has been instrumental in exposing the extent of rights abuses at Chiadzwa, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that such an appointment “is not at all surprising.”
“It’s worrying, but not surprising and we have previously warned that key ZANU PF officials were being given these top positions. We warned the KP about this and raised concerns about this involvement, so we aren’t surprised,” Kasambala said.
The UK based Global Witness this year also raised serious concerns about the involvement of senior ZANU PF members and military personnel, exposing how top officials were listed as ‘directors’ in firms at Chiadzwa. These includes; Martin Rushwaya, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defense, Oliver Chibage and Nonkosi M. Ncube, both police commissioners and Munyaradzi Machacha, a ZANU PF director of publications. Also listed are Morris Masunungure, a former army officer and Romeo Daniel Mutsvunguma, a retired army Colonel in the Zimbabwe Defence Force.
Global Witness warned that this involvement of top ZANU PF and military officials increased the likelihood that any future campaign of violence could be funded by the country’s diamond wealth. The group also called for Zimbabwe’s diamond sales to be suspended until there is full transparency in the local trade, as well as legislation to ensure that no members of Zimbabwe’s security sector have control over mining companies.
Kasambala on Monday voiced full support for these recommendations, stating that there is a serious risk that ZANU PF will use the resources to fund a campaign of violence.”
“We all know how the army has been involved in violence at Chiadzwa, including the murders of at least 200 people. We all know that former top army officials are now in charge of the mining companies there. And we all know how ZANU PF uses state resources to fund violence. This needs to stop,” Kasambala said.
Dube’s appointment meanwhile comes as Finance Minister Tendai Biti has again acknowledged that there is a “clear gap” between diamonds being sold and the amount of money reaching the government. He noted that the ZMDC has registered only 45 million carats, which is a "minute" amount in relation to the size of the mining operation. According to Biti, the country needs to set up a diamond exploration company and a stand-alone diamond agency that will help market the stones. – SW Radio Africa NewsPost published in: News