Tendai Biti’s advise to Zimbabwe’s new minister on mines

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Tendai Biti’s advise to Zimbabwe’s new minister on mines by Tendai Biti 18 September 2013

The country’s diamonds have acquired such notoriety for all the wrong reasons, corruption, arbitrage, rent and opaqueness.

Without a doubt therefore Walter Chidakwa, the new Minister of Mines owes Zimbabweans a duty of care in ensuring a fundamental paradigm shift in the management of our diamonds in this country.

His biggest task is to understand fully then destroy, the infrastructure of diamond arbitrage controlled by a local and international mafia whose bases range from Zimbabwe to Beijing via Israeli and Lebanon.

His must be warned that he will be dealing with a mafia that is militarized, vicious and uncompromising. As he digs deeper, if he is bold enough ,he will come across layer and layer of intricate mendacity, and when he gets closer to the heart of the matter, if he is still live alive, he will be shocked by the names he will unearth.

At that stage, even he will have to give up. Water does not go up a mountain. The removal, at the instance of Belgium of ZMDC from the EU list takes away from the mafia one powerful tool that they have always used.

The EU list has been used over the years as justification for the opaqueness that presently exists.

A point I realized many years ago and in fact given the extent of the massive loot led me to infact demand ZMDC s liberation from that list.

The question will things now change. I doubt it. I doubt it very much.

What would be critical for Walter would, be to ensure that he puts in place a sustainable frame work for diamond mining in Zimbabwe .

Firstly, a Diamond Act is long over due in Zimbabwe that must delink diamonds from both the Precious Minerals Act as well the Mines and Minerals Act.

The new Diamond Act must among other things deal with the following issues, that are a fundamental prerequisite of making diamonds play their key role in this economy

1) the Act must deal with the question of reassertion of State control and dominium over diamonds.

2) it must then deal with a transparent mechanism of the parcelling out of joint venture diamond mining rights. The old order where concessions where opaquely given out to all kinds of smelly immoral characters some of whom have been looting this country since 1890 is not legal or sustainable.

3) it must delink and take out State Diamond mining from the ZMDC, which is loaded with other minerals to a Diamond Agency of Zimbabwe

4) it must establish a diamond regulator for thorough regulation of the industry from mining practices to transfer pricing etc

5) it must define unambiguously the entire gamut of a revenue cycle whilst placing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority at the epicentre of the revenue collection

6) it must clearly define the manner of what is due to the State, redefine the special concept of diamond dividend and a simpler and quick method of collection

7) it must define fully a centralized method of diamond marketing provide for mandatory monthly or quarterly reports of diamond mining to parliament

9) provide for the key question of value addition and beneficiation including definitions of the quota reserved for the local diamond cutting industry

10) stipulate the obligation that in any event the mundane functions of cutting and polishing should be done locally

11) define the frame work of compensation for communities being displaced by Diamond mining

12) define the environmental framework for both alluvial and diamond mining.

Zimbabwe’s diamond mines, even in this era of depressed commodity prices can earn this country a modest $3 billion, if properly managed.

Diamonds played a pernicious role in the 31 July election in Zimbabwe. They continue to play that role, and will play that role in future, particularly given Zanu’s inevitable succession wars.

To avoid a resource curse and to ensure, Zimbabwe is liberated from the chaos, associated with alluvial diamonds wherever they are found on the African continent, there must be rethinking of the same.

Walter Chidakwa, will try. But like some of us, he will discover that this a entirely closed and privatized area. An absolute den of reptiles.

But good luck anywhere.




  • comment-avatar
    Takeiteasy Marcaves 11 years ago

    REST IN PEACE MR BITI. You failed to use your intelligence whilst in office and you want to be a hero of adverse advises. No you should put more efforts to build your sinking party. You just want to please those who used to give you undeserved praises. You are now irrelevant my friend. At least you won a seat in present parliament, give advises to your loosing collegues like mwonzora to stop giving directions to your party winners as he is struggling to come to terms with the reality of dismisal.

    • comment-avatar
      nesbert majoni 11 years ago

      MDC is not a sinking political party. Its your wishful thinking sir. MDC is there to stay and will rule Zimbabwe at some tym whether u like it or not. You are one of those who lick Mugabe’s ass. Good riddens.

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    kevin 11 years ago

    Good ideas Tendai, but you know very well that none of what you propose can be done. As you mention in your article, this is run by “a mafia that is militarized, vicious and uncompromising”. Mines portfolio is probably second to Defence in value to zpf. That is why they give these porfolios to weak party loyalists who will toe the line, not ask too many questions and don’t dig deep to find out what is going on. Walter is a good guy and knows how zpf functions.Why do you think Mpofu was the “ever obedient son”. Bob knew he could easily control him and Mpofu knew what to do to stay alive. Chindori-Chininga, need I say more.

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    Jackson 11 years ago

    Takeiteasy Marcaves: Did you read Tendai’s article to the end? You are probably one of the occupants of the ‘den of reptiles’ Tendai is reffering to.

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    Rwendo 11 years ago

    Diamonds….a blessing to our neighbours in Botswana, so far a curse to us in Zimbabwe. The difference? Wise leadership. Sir Seretse Khama and his many successors versus one RG Mugabe with his many degrees.

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    Tinashe 11 years ago

    Biti knows the reptiles that are controlling the diamonds but he was former Minister with all the platform liberate Zimbabwe from this reptiles. He must have used that his post name and shame. How can he wait and start barking from the terraces. I was great respect for him but gents you failed. Full stop.

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    Morris 11 years ago

    It is always sickening to listen to or read pro Zanu Pf messages that ignores the fact that Zanu Pf 1. Has never fairly competed for power 2. Is abusing institutions that are supposed to be state owned 3. Is oppressive to all Zimbabweans not just opposition figures

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    Morris 11 years ago

    Being oppressive is not a sign of wisdom, it is simply being cruel enough to abuse power in your hands. We can only fairly judge MDC figures when the environment is level enough to accommodate plural politics

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    Morris 11 years ago

    Biti actually proved to be a very visionary and hard working minister. He was even acknowledged by Mugabe himself albeit grudgingly and in hushed voices. His hands were tied; he did voice concerns over diamond revenues over and over. He had to be careful lest he would be accused of encroaching into the mandates of other ministers or even accused of trying to be a super minister