MINES and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa’s admission that auditors assigned to track down the missing $15 billion worth of diamonds were finding it difficult to get relevant information to facilitate the investigations, not only made for sad reading, but is a clear demonstration of lack of seriousness by the country’s leadership in as far as governance and accountability issues are concerned.
While Chidakwa claimed the companies targeted for investigations were before the courts and, therefore, access to information curtailed, this can only pass for a lame excuse.
This is a matter of national significance that should be prioritised and one is left wondering whether the said firms are in court over the missing precious stones.
It is also concerning that the matters have been finalised before the courts, but access to the relevant information was still a problem. We believe it is in matters such as these, given the issue of the $15 billion missing diamonds is one of national interest, that government should summon all its powers and get this saga dealt with diligently and expeditiously.
Zimbabweans have been waiting for answers on this for too long and it needs to be dealt with, with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Such lethargy has led to many of the problems that we face today as a country, unless there are people more equal than others involved in the diamonds saga that need to be protected from any kind of probe.
It would appear that diamond mining operations in Marange have largely been opaque and that is the reason why the powers-that-be took so long to act when civil society players had long raised the red flag that something fishy was going on at the diamond fields, with some politicians and security chiefs said to have clandestinely benefited from the illegal sale of the precious stones.
It is our hope that this probe will be thorough and answers forthcoming, perhaps not only on diamonds, but everything concerning the management of natural resources in the country, which, if handled properly, will likely contribute to a quicker economic turnaround for the country.
We call on Chidakwa to ensure all in his power is done to bring finality to this matter, which has cost the country so much.
It boggles the mind how Zimbabwe is expected to recover from this economic morass with this kind of attitude by those in the corridors of power.
We have no doubt that this matter, if not resolved, can cost the ruling Zanu PF in elections.