Release Maguwu or else — Zim told


Diamonds from Chiadzwa in Marange District will from today hog the spotlight in Tel Aviv, Israel, where the Kimberley Process (KP) Inter-sessional Meeting is expected to decide on whether the precious gems from the controversial Chiadzwa gem fields should be cleared.
The indaba comes in the wake of reports that international rights groups are intensifying their campaign for the release of Farai Maguwu, a diamonds human rights researcher, arrested after he allegedly passed a sensitive document to a Kimberly Process (KP) monitor to Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, detailing abuses and smuggling of the precious stones from Chiadzwa.
Global Witness, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), and Green Advocates Liberia have demanded the immediate release of Maguwu, director of the Mutare-based Centre for Research and Development (CRD), and the suspension of Chikane. Chikane’s report which said Zimbabwe had met KP’s “minimum” requirements is expected to be tabled today. The government has dismissed protests by the international rights groups saying they were “enemies” of Zimbabwe.
The groups are also lobbying for the immediate suspension of Zimbabwe from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPSC) for alleged human rights violations and rampant smuggling of the gems from Chiadzwa.
It has also emerged that the (KPCS) has put Maguwu’s release as a condition for the Chiadzwa diamonds to get the thumbs up at the Tel Aviv gathering which kicks off today and ends on 23 June.
Obert Mpofu, Minister of Mines and Mining Development said he received a letter from KPCS directing him to release Maguwu to enable the country to get the approval to sell diamonds.
But Mpofu said he could not interfere with Maguwu’s case as doing that could amount to trying to defeat the course of justice.
“Though we have met the minimum requirements to sell our diamonds, I received a letter from KPCS chairman directing me to release Maguwu so that we can sell our diamonds, but I cannot do that.
“I can also be arrested for interfering or trying to defeat the course of justice,” Mpofu said at a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) breakfast meeting.
A High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, will today deliver his ruling on Maguwu’s bail application.