Tsvangirai insists on Chiadzwa visit

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly approached Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu seeking authority to visit the controversial Marange diamond mining area.

Mpofu yesterday told NewsDay Tsvangirai had made the request, but he would only respond to it in the New Year as he was on leave.

“I got a call this morning from (Home Affairs co-minister) Theresa Makone on behalf of the Prime Minister, requesting a tour of Marange early next year and I am not looking at the request because I am now on leave,” Mpofu said.

Efforts to get a comment from Makone were unsuccessful.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said he was not aware of the request and needed time to verify with his boss.

Since the inception of the inclusive government, Tsvangirai’s attempts to tour the diamond rich fields and get first-hand information on operations there, have hit a brickwall.

In July he was forced to cancel a trip to Chiadzwa when he was already in Mutare after government officials insisted he needed authority to visit the highly-protected area.

President Robert Mugabe has toured the area before.

Two weeks ago, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation took journalists from all media houses on a tour of the area for the first time since mining started a few years ago.

MDC-T has complained about the way the diamond revenues are handled saying Zanu PF officials and the military were benefiting from the gems at the expense of the nation.