Is Zimbabwe in shifting sands?
This is a question that needs to be asked as the country rapidly enters an economic cul de sac which we thought had been reversed during the days of the inclusive government.
Instead of ramping up pressure on ministers to fulfill their electoral pledges and promises made after taking oath of office, we begin to see a Zanu PF government ducking questions and replacing them with an aggressive blame game.
The hullabaloo surrounding diamond firms extracting germs in the cash rich Marange in Manicaland Province where they stand accused of “reneging” on pledges to bankroll the communities there, put into sharp focus our problems.
While it is important to have principles and honour promises, these diamond firms have strongly rejected claims they committed to funding $10 million each to the Marange Zimunya communities.
Strangely, since former Indigenisation, Youth and Empowerment minister — Savior Kasukuwere — blamed diamond firms for not “honouring” their pledges, there have been attempts to deflect attention on the economic performance of the country and paint Marange diamond mining firms black.
Mbada Diamonds has been the biggest contributor to Treasury remitting $424 million in revenue in the form of taxes, dividends and advances.
It has spent $33, 9 million in corporate social responsibility activities as well as $214, 5 million (capital expenditure), $225, 6 million (Direct Production related Expenditure) and $138 million (Operational Expenditure), all this being done in just four years!
Isn’t it time that our government tells the nation how much the other firms have contributed to its coffers?
Why does this veil of secrecy on the activities in Marange remain so dominant even in these difficult times?
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has taken a lot of flak for the current economic malaise yet he remains powerless to improve revenue from Marange.
His predecessor Tendai Biti had the same problems and by his admission “only” Mbada Diamonds was remitting significant revenue to Treasury.
It doesn’t help parroting empowerment and being in control of ‘our own resources’ when revenue for those resources is not aggressively collected.
Neither does it help Zimbabwe that the government takes a fatalistic approach which consumes companies that are harnessing those resources for the people such as Mbada Diamonds.
Such inconsistencies are dangerous.
The government runs the risk of losing trust and confidence of its own people.
And when it does that, there won’t be anyone caring to breathe life into it.