STAKEHOLDERS in the diamond mining sector yesterday urged Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa to flex his muscle and speed up the proposed consolidation of diamond mining companies in Manicaland province.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
This was after Chidhakwa recently admitted there were pockets of resistance in embracing the move.
“Government should exercise its power and ensure that there is no going back on the merger,” Kimberley Process Civic Society Zimbabwe coordinator Shamiso Mtisi said.
“Mines should be consolidated so that we have a semblance of order in Marange. If the companies resist, the minister should cancel their operating licences like they once did with Canadile Miners though there might be a legal challenge.”
Mtisi said as the biggest shareholder, the government had the capacity to dissolve the companies and restart on a well-thought-out strategy premised on transparency and accountability.
The companies are accused of lying on their investment plans to the State and failure to properly invest in areas of exploration.
James Mupfumi of the Centre for Research and Development, said Chidhakwa’s statements only serve to confirm fears by civic society that country’s indigenisation laws were simply used by powerful individuals to access diamonds in Marange for personal gain.
“It should not have been difficult for government to consolidate diamond mining companies today if it had a controlling stake, as what this nation has been made to believe over the years,” he said.
Centre for Natural Resources Governance director Farai Maguwu said the minister must be decisive to ensure progress.
“It’s all about power dynamics. These companies are not proper mining companies, but a militarised group of individuals within Zanu PF, who are coming together with some dodgy companies,” he claimed.
“Chidhakwa doesn’t have the muscle to rein in these companies, lest he will be accused of being in the wrong basket. If he does not have full support from the President, then there is nothing he can do.
“The minister will not achieve much because the companies are not regulated by any laws and any attempt to bring them together under the current circumstances will not be possible because they were formed specifically to loot, enrich individuals and finance their party.”