Government must expedite the process of harnessing financial resources to inject into the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Scheme, given that the diamond mining activities in Chiadzwa before the advent of the current amalgamated Government-owned entity was a disaster, senior Government officials have said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his Environment, Water and Climate counterpart Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri made the remarks yesterday at Nemaramba Primary School near Nyanyadzi Growth Point, while addressing scores of Zanu-PF supporters at a rally to drum up support for party candidate, Cde Nokuthula Matsikenyere, ahead of the Chimanimani West by-election on November 26.
The Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Scheme was launched by President Mugabe in July 2012, and on the occasion, the diamond mining companies pledged $50 million.
To date, only $400 000 has reportedly been released towards the scheme, while infrastructure in areas surrounding the diamond fields remains desolate.
Cde Kasukuwere, who was the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment when the scheme was launched, described the diamond mining activities in Chiadzwa before the installation of a single Government-owned entity as a disaster.
“What happened in Chiadzwa was a disaster. Things that happened in Chiadzwa in the past were wrong. We deeply regret it. We are now looking forward to speedy mobilisation of financial resources to finance the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Scheme so that the people in surrounding areas benefit from the mineral resource that is found in their area,” said Cde Kasukuwere.
Cde Muchinguri echoed Minister Kasukuwere’s sentiments saying the entire Manicaland province is disgruntled over the plundering of diamonds in Chiadzwa.
“Manicaland has been disgruntled over the Chiadzwa issue. What many expected is that there could be remarkable improvement of roads, construction of health centres, diamond cutting and polishing being done here, installation of boreholes and a general improvement of the infrastructure in areas surrounding Chiadzwa.
“But, we witnessed diamonds being taken away without any returns. To make matters worse, we have heard complaints of failure to employ locals in the diamond mining operations. What we are going to do together with my colleague (Cde Kasukuwere) is to table the issue in the next Cabinet meeting, that we really need to mobilise financial resources to fund the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Scheme, and let the people get what they were promised,” said Cde Muchinguri.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Walter Chidhakwa has previously blamed the previous ministers of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment for not following proper procedures on the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.
Cde Chidhakwa is on record as saying there is confusion in the whole issue, hence the need to bring all stakeholders together and deliberate on the way forward.
“There is so much confusion, and there is need to correct some of the things which were not done properly as miners maintain they were not consulted, hence non-movement for the community share trust,” he said in March last year.
At one point, just before the advent of the Government-owned single mining entity in Chiadzwa, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, irate villagers in the Marange, Zimunya communities threatened to stop all diamond mining activities in Chiadzwa, to compel firms operating in the area back then to honour their $50 million pledge to the scheme.
There were five diamond mining companies operating in Chiadzwa and all failed to honour the $50 million pledge to the community share ownership scheme. herald