via ‘Plough back diamond proceeds into Manicaland’ – NewsDay October 10, 2015
THE Minister of State for Manicaland province Mandi Chimene on Thursday made a passionate plea to First Lady Grace Mugabe for her to ensure diamond proceeds from Marange benefit people in that province.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Chimene told thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Mutambara Mission in Chimanimani during Grace’s rally that the province was endowed with diamonds, but was not enjoying the proceeds. She said the minerals were instead developing other areas outside Manicaland.
“Manicaland is endowed with many resources, but at some point we cannot access the benefits as they just pass through to Harare,” Chimene said.
“We don’t have good roads here, but the diamonds pass through those potholes. If they cannot give us cash realised from the sale of diamonds, then they should consider giving us the diamonds so that we sell on our own.”
The minister said it was frustrating because Manicaland was the richest province in the country but had nothing to show for it.
She also said Manicaland was facing acute food shortages and was in need of aid to assist struggling areas like Chipinge South, Nyanga North, Makoni South and Buhera.
She, however, urged people to utilise their farms as well as to revive irrigation facilities that are lying idle in the province.
Chimene said she would not hesitate taking over under-utilised farms and redistribute them to those who are in geniune need of land.
“I will not hesitate to downsize the farms of those who are not utilising them. We cannot have people with big farms doing nothing other than keeping snakes and lizards. If you cannot utilise that land then we will give it to others,” she warned.
She also threatened to expose corrupt leaders who were pulling down several initiatives to uplift people’s livelihoods.
In response to the issues raised by Chimene, Grace said she was a strong advocate of the land audit and the aspect of flushing out multiple farm owners who are sitting on huge tracts of land that they failed to utilise.
The First Lady also said there should be a structured way of utilising minerals so that they benefit generations to come.