Chiadzwa saga: Govt takes action •50 invaders arrested •beefs up security in area

Minister Chidhakwa

Minister Chidhakwa

Cletus Mushanawani Mutare Bureau—
A five-member ministerial delegation visited Chiadzwa diamond fields yesterday on a fact-finding mission after panners stormed the area in the wake of a Government directive to all mining firms there to cease operations and vacate the area within 90 days. Police said 50 villagers had been arrested as of yesterday.

All firms that were ordered to cease operations had not renewed their licences as stipulated by the Mines and Minerals Act. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said all the affected companies’ three-year licences had expired.

The delegation — comprising Dr Ignatius Chombo (Home Affairs), Dr Chris Mushohwe (Information, Media and Broadcasting Services), Dr Lazarus Dokora (Primary and Secondary Education) and Mandi Chimene (Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs) — toured premises of all the affected firms where police have taken over security provisions.

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The affected firms include Mbada Diamonds, Diamond Mining Company (DMC), Jinan and Anjin. Marange Resources, which is 100 percent owned by the Government, is still operating and has invested in new state-of-the-art equipment.

The delegation was told that some firms refused to surrender keys to vaults and sorting rooms. However, security personnel on the ground said the situation was back to normal as more deployments were being made to seal off the area from would-be troublemakers.

“All the licences of the affected mines had expired and they did not bother to renew them. They only started to react when we started pushing for their consolidation into one company.

“Since their licences had expired, they no longer have title or any reason to continue mining. The companies were totally against their consolidation into one mine. We tried to engage them in a number of extra-ordinary general meetings with their shareholders, but they remained adamant,” said Cde Chidhakwa.

He said all the affected companies would never be allowed to mine again at Chiadzwa as Cabinet on Tuesday approved the decision to close them.

“Some people have been asking me whether we will reconsider them if they formalise their applications, but their position was asserted by Cabinet yesterday (Tuesday). Anybody in their dreams harbouring the thought that the companies will be re-licenced should get out of that dream. There is no going back on that issue because the companies were a big let-down to the nation during their stay at Chiadzwa.

“Their time is up and it is high time our people benefit from the proceeds of their resources. All the companies never declared a dividend to the Government as a shareholder. They always gave excuses of making losses, but how can loss making ventures continue operating, with some of them asking for more concessions?”

On security concerns, Cde Chidhakwa said: “We were tasked by Cabinet to come to the ground to get a true picture of the prevailing situation on the ground after reports that a free for all situation was obtaining here with the police being overwhelmed by panners reinvading the area as well as other elements sabotaging the hand-over process. Yes, we got some reports of resistance from personnel of some companies, but everything is now under control. Workers should know that it was their employers who led to this situation, but they should not despair as they would be accommodated in the new set-up.

“To the deployed police officers, I want to remind you that you are a professional force and should maintain that integrity. Young men and women may start having other ideas, but they should be stopped immediately. If you fail to control the junior officers, you will be bringing the force into disrepute. You should look after the facilities being left here. Every little thing should be looked after because you have a constitutional mandate to do so,” said Cde Chidhakwa.

On the equipment being left behind, the minister said an inventory of everything would be carried out and all stakeholders would meet to chart the way forward on their disposal. Dr Chombo said police were out to deal with all economic saboteurs.

“We have deployed our officers here to ensure that there is no looting of our diamonds and other equipment. We do not want selfish people in our midst and we will make sure that there is law and order here. We will only withdraw our forces after the completion of the consolidation process.

“All police officers deployed here should not be found wanting because we will not hesitate to crack the whip. You should avoid any acts of corruption. You should not do anything that brings the name of the force and Government into disrepute.

“Commanders here should not hesitate to request for more manpower and resources like vehicles and motorbikes if a need arises. We want to make this area as secure as possible,” he said.

Dr Mushohwe said the booted companies deserved it because they had proved to be big liars who never delivered on any undertaking they would have made.

“The companies took President Mugabe and the nation for a ride by pledging that they would support the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust, but nothing materialised. Schools, clinics and roads are still in their sorry state despite numerous reminders to the company to fulfil their pledges.

“They are themselves to blame because where in the world do you find companies operating without licences? The companies did not respect our traditional rites as some of them violated our ancestors’ graves, with some of the remains being swept away by water in Odzi River.

“We hail this decision as it was long overdue. Traditional leaders should play their role by not harbouring panners in their areas,” said Dr Mushohwe. Headman Chiadzwa pledged continuous support and said the development was a dawn of a new era in their area.

“We were eagerly waiting for this development because the kicked out companies were a big let-down. They never delivered on any promise they would have made. They left us even poorer than we were before. To us, we can safely say this is the dawn of a new era and it is more like being born again. We had suffered a lot at the hands of these companies,” he said.

On security, Headman Chiadzwa said: “We will play our part to ensure that law and order is maintained here, but the police should not accept bribes because we have reports of them being paid as little as $10 to allow panners to sneak and pan in the diamond fields.”

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  • Saddened

    The ‘professionalism’ of the police is in evidence at every roadblock.

  • Mwanawevu

    Izvi zvinoshamisa nekutsamwisa. Why did it take so long for a government full of Doctors like the team that visited today to see that they were being screwed. Mozomuka kuhope madiamonds apera zvichabatsirei? People from all corners of Zimbabwe were talking about lack of transparency and corruption in the diamond flieds but all fell on deaf ears, arrogance. How can you go for years without knowing how much money these companies were making when infact they were extracting our valuable resources. Resources that we should defend and make sure that they benefit our own people. Our people were displaced without an compensation and the govt didnt do anything. You are talking about graves being washed away, what about the living who had their homes and land taken away for nothing?

    • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

      From my experience working in business, especially as risk and compliance officer in the private sector , its not necessarily the academic qualifications such as PHDs that are relevant in business. Our government officials are , I believe , literate and trainable to have the necessary skills to supervise the private sector operations. Just like Zimra who understand how to read the business operations and maximize revenue collection. Half the battle is to begin it. Lets not cry forever , but take appropriate measures and move forward. During our liberation armed struggle we learned that losing a battle is not losing the war .

      • yowe

        Hautosvodi here iwe??? You want to keep learning from the same mistake? What new lesson will these idiots derive from their mismanagement of the economy? We need new leadership simple

        • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

          New leadership in government is chosen during elections time not when you just wake from your dreaming sleep. The Chiadzwa issue has been the subject matter even during the GNU , with the parliament Cmtte and the then PM visiting the area. There were some recommendations from a Comm . of Enquiry which need revisiting , not necessarily new leadership. What leadership do you have in mind that needs renewal with respect to the issues at hand? Do we all understand the issues besides what we read from the various media? While I have also criticised the government, I also take it that I am not privy to some of the issues involved , besides media reports.

          • sim

            Cde the most important fact we have already heard is from the mines minister, which is that the companies were operating without a license. In a billion dollar market you allow 4-5 companies to mine a high value resource is very criminal in every aspect. The minister needs to go. How can a mines minister overseeing a product such as this not know about the legality of the companies operating. We cant keep moving forward without accountability.
            We don’t even care about the money from the operations, we just want answers on how a license can expire and some can still dig out a minerals? A new mines minister is needed. i am willing to take up the post ad i think i ca do a better job than this Chidhakwa guy. Give me that job now.

          • yowe

            Chondori Chininga died for this

          • yowe

            Ohhhhhh …. Do you get paid to troll on this website to spew your propaganda? You are definately educated but you foolishly dance around simple questions let me ask again. What does Zanu expect to learn from repeating the same mistake? What new lesson will these idiots derive from their mismanagement of the economy? No matter what we are not privy to Chiadzwa could have provided enough money for infrastructural development. NOTHING came from it. After almost a decade these Zanoids all of a sudden realised that the country was not benefiting from the mines? Sadly according to you its part of the learning process! Again I ask you HAUSVODI HERE?

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    Yes we learn from our mistakes. Our government should move quickly to ensure order and national benefit from our diamonds industry. Any measures to correct past relationship weaknesses with mining partners in the national interest is the most welcome way forward. The government needs skills to understand that business nature in order to have an effective oversight. Any continued lack of appropriate skills will result in wool being pulled over the eyes of our government officials in any future relationships.

    • Tarubva

      When the Kimberley Process told your govt that it was doing it wrongly in Marange, what did you say? Imperialists, MDC, sanctions, Zidera,….! Now look who is having the last laugh. What a bunch of dunderheads!

      • Mwana Wevhu

        I believe the diamond mining process was certified by the Kimberly Process and I still don’t know why heraldlive continues to block my comments

        • theheraldonline

          Mwana Wevhu,
          We have not blocked any of your comments.

          • Observer gonzo

            How about mine?

          • sim

            Mine being blocked as well, a country can not prosper if you block ideas, good leaders listen to good ideas not thrush them. Soon we will tell you we forming a army and you will deny it too. We luv this country so listen and post everything maybe these ministers might wake up.

          • theheraldonline

            Kindly re-post. Did not block anything by you.

      • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

        Tarubva you said the same silly posting yesterday. The Kimberly Process approved our operations and we can trade our diamonds in terms of Kimberly Process criteria. The Kimberly Process is not the current issue. What we voiced against as illegal sanctions. You are too dull to understand that :
        1) Why is the US still opposing our diamonds trade after the approval by Kimberly Process?. The US scuttled our diamonds auctions in Belgium and Dubai floors using its satanic clout in the international financial system.
        2)The US correspondent banks are pressed by the US government to block the flow of our diamonds and other funds , using its ZDERA.
        3) Why are you so stupid to deny the sanctions issue when two weeks ago there was a report that BARCLAYS bank was penalised for allowing payments to Zim companies in breach of the US sanctions law.
        4) Biti, during his sojourn as Fin Minister had based one of his budget Statement on funds from diamonds trade. He came to understand that funds were being blocked because of sanctions. Every MDC fool ,like you, should know that the US government rebuffed Biti `s written request to have diamonds removed from the sanctions funds blocking. That cleared all the cheap MDC gossip that diamonds funds were being looted. So please dont celebrate your dirty ignorance.
        The facts stand you on your head! You are in fact the very dunderhead, like van Tsvangisen, your lecherous leader.

        • sim

          Cde every smart person would have known the move by Kimberly process was to remove value from the Zim diamonds. They just didn’t want an alternative market emerging to counter the ones they already controlled. Joining their market in this instance is bringing less value to this country and that’s what the US wants. Why not open up a room in the reserve bank that sells these raw diamonds in full view of everyone. Prices will start low but soon the market will grow. Every miner not willing to put those stone in a Zim market should bugger off. Why do we have to go to their markets, we can invite people in our country and do the selling here. These stones will not rot so sell them here, each and every stone should be sold in Harare, Mutare or Blues. The buyers will come, they always come.

  • Magufuli jnr

    what was CDE Dokora ‘s role in this delegation, His own portfolio is in bad state. Open air and tree shed classrooms are common place in rural and resettlement areas.

  • Chitambo

    Is it correct to say that the country got absolutely nothing from Chiadzwa all these years despite them being touted as the biggest deposits in the world? Strange those billions of diamond revenues could just disappear with no accountability whatsoever. Someone slept on the job and should be brought to book. Someone knows what happened…………

    • Saddened

      Those diamond billions didn’t completely disappear. There are some nice cars driving around Harare and elsewhere in Zim. It is in these vehicles that you can ‘account’ for all that diamond money.

  • tee cee

    biti paaizvitaura izvi kut ma diamond mines haasikuunza mari zvainzi arikunyepa nhasi makuzviona mega manje,ko vashandi vaishandira these companies vachaitwa sei

  • Kuta Kinte

    I am deeply perturbed by the fact that these mining companies never declared anything for all the mining years. Is there no mechanism to monitor all the production whether it will result in a loss or profit? Were they mining in a closed curtain where no one could know what was being produced – no accountability? Honestly for all these years, there should a billion dollar worth of what was extracted. However, if they cannot declare anything, their capital equipment and other assets should be forfeited to the state because we need something at least to throw into our economic quagmire. Very, very disappointing indeed. Thanks Minister Chidhakwa at least for having taken action than just letting such a drawback to continue. Again this is very disappointing. I love my country.

    • DarkChild

      I’m sure they will not cry over their assets and equipment being forfeited to govt because they were very cautious to not invest too much in local assets or infrastructure. Most equipment was rented, and whatever assets they have left there will be just a fraction of what they got out in diamonds. I’ll be surprised if you can even get $3 Million worth of assets from all companies combined. fact is govt was either incompetent or complicit!

    • karombe

      thanx to minister chidakwa my foot. to me its a grand plan

  • Chimedzanemburungwe

    Part of the diamond proceeds can be seen by way of the new fleet of luxury buses on our highways – just check the Harare -Mutare ,Harare- Bulawayo, Harare -Masvingo-Beitbridge roads. The buses have some wierd names like Bolt Cutter, GoldClass, TripTrans just to name a few. Anyway anything with a begining has a definate ending as well…

  • haiwawo

    As always – crisis management. This is a reactive approach to a crisis of the government’s making. This bunch is clueless. This has been a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has escaped right from the way these diamond finds were managed.

    When some companies were exporting even the soil to process in a neigbouring country, the government did nothing. When there were corrupt practices going on including non-remittance of the money, again the government did nothing. Now this do-nothing government has had an epiphany (after reports that there was little viable mining to be done now), announces the almost summarily closures that precipitates a chaotic environment and now want to be seen to be remediating the crisis that has characterized their do nothing approach!

    This is the sad narrative of Zimbabwe. And then they want to invite foreign capital to invest in such an environment? We are cursed to have such grossly incompetent people guiding the nation’s fortunes (or misfortunes when one considers the damage).

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    The answer to your rude question is in the negative. To be uninitiated , its seems easy! Mugoni we pwere ngeusinayo!

  • DAMBUDZO MARECHERA

    Of course we have got some corupt elements within our government, the truth is that we need only one company to do the operations in those diamonds fields. Why dont we do it the way it is being done in our next door neighbours? We need a consolidated company in this area if we realy want thiz diamonds to benefit our own ppl. Corruption is everywhere but lets not undermine this idea of one company to mine the diaomonds.