STAKEHOLDERS in the mining sector have urged new Mines minister Winston Chitando to move swiftly to restore sanity and stop the alleged looting of mineral resources, particularly diamonds.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Manicaland-based director of the Centre for Natural Resource and Governance, Farai Maguwu, told NewsDay yesterday that Chitando should expeditiously see to it that communities benefit from mineral resources within their area.
“We are yet to know his background. But all that we can say is that Chitando has taken a hot seat. All eyes are on him considering Chiadzwa’s sad story. There is a huge task ahead of him and what we can say is that he must now change things,” Maguwu said.
“He knows what has been happening in Marange. He must eradicate corruption first. We hope that he will not be cowed into corruption himself by the powers-that-be. He must ensure that diamonds are mined transparently.”
Maguwu added that Chitando should put to rest the issue of the $15 billion worth of diamonds that reportedly went missing from the Chiadzwa diamond fields during former President Robert Mugabe’s era.
“We have been saying and making a lot of noise to the government to ensure that the people in Marange benefit from their resources, but unfortunately, the discovery of these diamonds has brought more harm than good. There is nothing we can point at that came as a result of diamonds in Marange and Manicaland as a province. We are not happy at all with what is happening in Chiadzwa.”
He said over 200 people were killed in the diamond fields, while thousands were maimed, tortured and brutalised by State security agents during the diamond rush in Marange.
“These are some of the issues that the new minister must address. Human rights abuses are worsening. We are alarmed by the grisly human rights abuses and killings that are being committed by security forces, the officers are ruthlessly and systematically opening fire at defenceless miners,” Maguwu said.
He advocated for a complete overhaul of the operations at the Chiadzwa diamond fields.