Comment: Stop this lunacy

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Actions by some of Zimbabwe’s diamond firms in Marange who are tormenting locals found straying in the diamond-rich area are nerve-wrecking, to say the least.

It is significant to note that this despicable behaviour comes at a time the European Union (EU) has consented to the sale of the precious minerals by Mbada and Marange, two key diamond mining firms in the controversial Chiadzwa fields.
The EU recently gave the thumbs-up to exports from Marange Resources and Mbada with immediate effect.

But, reports of abuse of civilians could jeopardise that green light. This lunacy must just stop.
Why put spanners in the works when things are changing for the better in the mining industry and taking into consideration the time and energy spent by the government to make sure that those gems are not blood diamonds?

If true, it is incumbent upon the powers-that-be to investigate the reports with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

Reports further claim that those captured are forced into labour for unspecified days before being released and warned never to return or risk similar punishment.

This is a clear case of human rights violation and should not be tolerated at any level.

It is sad to note that despite the human rights situation having improved over the last three years, as attested by the MP for the area, Shuah Mudiwa, the behaviour of these firms is a major drawback and an affront to human dignity.

It is important that the inclusive government gets to the bottom of the matter and not scratch on the surface for this could throw Zimbabwe back into the dark ages.

Zimbabweans need to move forward and not be bogged down by untoward behaviour exhibited by a handful of human rights violators.

The EU should be commended for supporting the country, so that diamond sales could resume.
However, oversight will still be needed to ensure that human rights are not violated by diamond sharks prying the Chiadzwa fields.

Hence, the civic society and Kimberley Process (KP) local focal point person Shamiso Mtisi must be seen playing a pivotal role in providing that oversight.

The KP monitoring team should verify compliance of exports from Chiadzwa and this verification should be ongoing until the whole Marange region is compliant with the minimum requirements.
The government should, therefore, ensure stakeholders are allowed free access to the area as opposed to its previous stance and must commit itself to fighting illicit digging and smuggling of diamonds.

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