A State monopoly on diamonds will not necessarily benefit Zimbabweans

As far as the PDP is concerned, a State monopoly on diamonds will not necessarily benefit Zimbabweans. In fact the consolidation of this sector into one government controlled entity will result in a looting machine that is solely controlled by Mugabe and a new ZANU (PF) predatory cabal that is loyal to his continues stay in power.

GOLD-MININGThe consolidation of diamond companies into a state controlled entity does not make any economic sense whatsoever. In fact Nigeria has just announced that it is breaking its state oil company into separate 30 companies because a huge entity is difficult to control and is not inclusive.

We are all rather shocked that the President has now seen it fit to blame the Chinese companies for the diamond illicit financial flows after we have been saying this all the time. The model used by ZANU (PF) was wrong in the first place and seven years and US$14 billion later is too late to regret. In other modern democracies Presidents are forced to resign for such gross errors of judgement.

Added to this is the news of how the chairman of Mbada, an entity in which the President himself is alleged to have an interest, has been splashing money in South Africa buying some of the most expensive properties there. Surely the President is aware of this?

The President need to be told that the Chinese companies involved did not force themselves onto us like the colonialists did, they were invited here by Zimbabweans who facilitated whatever has happened there to date. In addition to that, it is estimated that around 200 people died in Marange (add poor Chindori Chininga to that number) and to this date communities they have continued to be abused. That is the remorse that the President should have.

As PDP we hereby advise the President that he has failed on his constitutional duty to protect the interests and the resources of Zimbabwe. We the taxpayers provide him US$200 million per annum to run his office including the thousands of CIOs who work there. We suggest that they rather spend time on economic intelligence to protect the country than abducting innocent Zimbabweans like Itai Dzamara who only want to see a free Zimbabwe like all of us do.

Eddie Cross article published today aptly titled- When Thieves fall out- is a damning analysis of the theft that has gone on in Marange with the tacit approval of the President. In it he estimates that we lost diamond revenues of about US$14 billion and that we still have huge reserves of agglomerate deposits ( 10 billion carats) that still need to be mined by experts.

Putting the control of these reserves under the State is as good as putting them under the control of the ZANU (PF) predatory cabal that will emerge after the purges which we have seen. Zimbabweans cannot trust Mugabe and his predatory cabal to look after their interests any more, he has failed to do this for the last 36 years.

As PDP, our first call will be to eradicate patronage in state enterprises such as the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) which have been mired in corruption, lack of transparency and lack of accountability. We intend to re-examine the existing institutional architecture within the mining sector and ensure that it ultimately delivers economic value to the country.

Our mining policy under HOPE proposes the establishment of a non-partisan, independent and professionally managed Public Wealth Fund (PWF) that is accountable to the people of Zimbabwe. The PWF must be the sole recipient of diamond revenues due to the government.

PDP believes that a Public Wealth Fund (PWF) can indeed be viable proposition especially where there is disciplined fiscal management and there is no temptation by government to use fund inflows for recurrent expenditure. That is the greatest risk we shall face. The PWF, can shift resources from consumption, which remain far too high in Zimbabwe to savings and, if properly managed, efficient investment. In our view ZANU (PF) has proved incompetent to do just that.

The problem we face in Zimbabwe is not a resource problem but an ethical challenge at political leadership level and that is not about to change until we have a new principled leadership in place.

Zimbabweans deserve better.

Vince Musewe

PDP Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs

Post published in: Business

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