Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Fields Chief Goes Into Hiding

Small-scale diamond miners are seen here at Chiadzwa when the going was still good. Some of these very people are said by Chief Chiadzwa to have been killed by soldiers sent in to "restore order." The Chief has now gone into hiding as the Inclusive Government of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe seeks to arrest him for taking the Kimberley Process Team around the areas.

Reporting from Harare, Zimbabwe, Sunday 02 August 2009

The Inclusive Government of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe has sent armed policemen and soldiers to kick down the doors of the Chief of the Manicaland diamond area of Chiadzwa, seeking to arrest him and evict him from his ancestral home for telling tales to the Kimberly Process Team.

As the opposition Member of Parliament for the Chiadzwa Diamond fields was sentenced to two years jail for "abusing farming aid" from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Chief after whom the vast diamond field were discovered has gone into hiding after he heard that the police and CIO were after him.

Wayne Bvudzijena (the surname means "White Hair"), the Zimbabwe Police Spokesman, confirmed to Walter Marwizi, a reporter on the Standard, that State Agents were indeed looking for Chief Chiadzwa.

The Chief is in trouble for taking the Kimberly Process Team that was in Zimbabwe around the area. He brought villagers to them to recount horror stories of beatings and "point-blank" shootings of unarmed small-scale miners. The Kimberley Process Team recommended last week that Zimbabwe be suspended from trading its diamonds globally.

Cheif Chiadzwa's Court was raided by armed soldiers and policeman and he only escaped because he was not at home at the time. They confiscated two trucks belonging to the Chief.

Still, the soldiers left a message with his workers saying they had come to "evict" him on government orders because he had collaborated with the Kimberly Process Team.

The Chief remains defiant, however, telling Marwizi, "Yes, there are mass graves at the Chiadzwa Diamond Fields. At times, people were shot at point blank range. I could not take the Team there because I was prevented from doing so by soldiers."

This comes as it emerges now that the KP Team was refused access by soldiers into the cordoned off security area. Chief Chiadzwa is adamant that some of 200 people killed at the fields are buried in mass graves within the secure zone.

The KP Team had recommended to government that the Diamond Field at Chiadzwa be "demilitarised". The military responded swiftly, issuing a statement that they were not going anywhere and would remain at the Diamond Fields until they were good and ready to leave of their own accord.

The law enforcement agents of the Inclusive Government say they are looking for the Chief with regards to the matter of "relocation."

Discussions have been going on with the Chief and his people to move them to another area in Manicaland, that much has been established.

But these negotiations, which must include haggling over compensation and the like, were abandoned last week after the Chief was accused of helping the KP Team reach the conclusion to ban Zimbabwe's diamonds. They consider them "blood diamonds".

Now the Inclusive Government wants to use force and is no longer interested in discussions wth the chief, incensed that he is prejudicing of this money-pit, which is, according to government's own estimates, worth up to US$600 million a month.

It is a curious state of affairs, isn't it?

Only weeks ago, Deputy Minister Zvidzai of the MDC-T was denying the slaughter of villagers and small-scale miners in Windhoek at a Diamonds Summit.

On the other hand, you have Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai telling the world media, as he did more than a month ago that "the two minister of Home Affairs (one MDC-T and the other ZANU PF) were "working very well together."

I suppose this is the fruit of their labour.

We are slowly descending into the morass that Nigeria finds itself today, where villagers in areas where oil is mined that country are harassed, arrested, denied compensation and, when they try to organise themselves like Ken Saro Wiwa did, they could get arrested and executed for treason.

This is the work of the Inclusive Government that Tsvangirai said yesterday "is a train without a reverse gear."


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