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  • Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles

  • Diamond mining should benefit communities – President Tsvangirai
    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)
    October 25, 2013

    President Tsvangirai has called for diamond mining to benefit the communities where mining is taking place and the people of Zimbabwe and condemned the current state where only a few benefiting from the mining of the gems.

    The President made the call last night while delivering a speech at the Oxford University in the UK on, “The Zimbabwean experience of diamonds and how they have shaped our politics.”

    “Diamond mining has to benefit the communities in which mining is taking place and the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. Article 13 of our new Constitution provides that the State must ensure that local communities benefit from the resources in their areas,” said President Tsvangirai.

    “Unfortunately, the experience so far under Zanu-PF in control of natural resources and the mining sector is that the diamond industry has neither helped in promoting development or democratisation in the country,” he said.

    President Tsvangirai said instead, diamond mining has increased the gap between the minority that are extremely rich and the majority who remain poor while at the same time fuelling the undermining of democratic processes.

    “All activities in the diamond mining industry must be consistent with the spirit of constitutionalism. This implies safeguarding and promoting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people as well as generally upholding the Rule of Law. Above all, there must be respect for property rights.

    “To this extent, one tends to agree with the recommendations of the parliamentary portfolio committee which investigated the diamond mining industry of Zimbabwe,” he said.

    In part the parliamentary portfolio report that was released this year reads; “The Committee observed with concern that from the time that the country was allowed to trade its diamonds on the world market, government has not realized any meaningful contributions from the sector.

    This is despite the fact that production levels and the revenue generated from exports has been on the increase. There are serious discrepancies between what government receives from the sector and what the diamond mining companies claim to have remitted to Treasury”.

    President Tsvangirai said the forced displacement of the local people in Marange in Manicaland and the problems they continue to face following their displacement remains a cause for concern.

    “The poverty endemic in this area is not consistent with the value of the diamonds extracted from their land. It is displeasing how a people can continue to wallow in poverty in the midst of a treasure benefiting the well-heeled and the well-connected in government,” he said.

    It is estimated that the country now has the capacity to supply 25 percent of the global diamond market.

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