Acting Prime Minister meets blood Diamond investigators

HARARE – Acting Prime Minister Thokozani Khuphe on Wednesday held discussions with a team from Kimberly Process, which is in Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission to establish allegations that the country’s security forces killed more than 200 illegal miners and dealers at Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange, Manicaland.\r\n

The team, comprising Benhard Esau (Chair) from Namibia, Kennedy Hamutenya- Diamond Commissioner Namibia, Mr Louis Sekelane Chief Executive Officer of South Africa’s Precious Metals Regulator, Ms Cecillie Mbundu KPCS Coordinator – Namibia and Vicky Dan KPCS Liason Officer – Namibia, arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday.

 

James Maridadi, the spokesman for the Acting Prime Minister, said the Deputy Minister of Mines Murisi Zwizwai accompanied the delegation.

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting was deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

“They had a fruitful discussion with the Acting Prime Minister and other members of the inclusive government,” Maridadi told RadioVOP.

The team on Monday toured the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange in the company of Obert Mpofu, the minister of Mines and Mining Development. Mpofu denied during the tour of the area that atrocities were committed by the armed forces against ordinary citizens. He however, admitted that the “high level of criminality among illegal diamond diggers resulted in three deaths, which led to three arrests.”

But independent human rights organisations such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have released reports alleging gross human rights abuses in the area; alluding more than 200 people were killed.

The Kimberly process, which visited Zimbabwe three years ago to investigate alleged smuggling of blood diamonds from the DRC via Zimbabwe, aims at ensuring effective accounting and regulation of all diamonds produced and traded.

In Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Mines is responsible for implementing the Kimberly Process via Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation (ZMDC). According to officials from the Kimberly process that spoke to Radio VOP, at any time the country’s rough diamond inventory must represent the balance of total production and imports less exports.

Zimbabwe is among 49 voluntary participants representing 75 countries. Zimbabwe’s military is accused of looting diamonds from the DRC where Zimbabwe sent an army to fight along side the late Laurent Kabila, the father of current president Joseph Kabila.