via Mining: a case of poor governance 06.11.13 by The Zimbabwean
Despite the quantity of minerals currently being extracted and sold on the international markets, the people mostly directly affected by mining operations are still waiting to enjoy the economic and social benefits of Zimbabwe’s underground riches.
Zimbabwe is still underdeveloped and revenues from mineral resources have failed to lift poor people out of the shackles of abject poverty. Mining has failed to promote local economic development and failed to give hope to the communities crippled by degraded environments, disease, corruption, poor service delivery and lack of infrastructure infrastructural deficit among other challenges. It’s a sickening story.
The legislative frameworks and fiscal systems that guide and regulate the mining sector and mineral resources in Zimbabwe are woefully inadequate. They are also implemented in inadequate and piecemeal ways. The frameworks are plagued by profound environmental protection gaps, vague requirements, weak standards and ineffective taxation and fiscal systems in the whole mining value chain.
Some powerful politicians have shares in the mining companies, thereby setting up confusing and conflicting roles as both investors and policy-makers/regulators. This hinders them from effectively carrying out their legislative and monitoring duties in the mining sector.
Although there is a constitutional right to public information in the Zimbabwean constitution, communities are kept in the dark on issues of mining, despite being the same communities that need to know about the impacts and benefits of these mining projects. Environment impact assessments (EIAs), mining contracts and resource revenues disclosures are hard to access. This secrecy and lack of transparency is fuelling corruption and lack of accountability, and is depriving the public of a chance to question and criticise decisions on mining issues.
It’s painful that the communities on the receiving end of the worst impacts of mineral extraction are the same ones always sidelined and denied their right to know and the freedom to participate.
It’s a reality that there is a serious lack of governance in the mining sector in Zimbabwe, and mining policy has failed to address human development needs and the right to dignity of ordinary citizens.