The Government Lied About Marange Diamond Mines

What investors? Mugabe arrives for Tendai Biti's Budget speech at parliament in Harare. The Zimbabwe government has installed two mining companies illegally at claims owned by someone else, despite their assurances to the contrary.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 07 December 2009

It turns out the Inclusive Government of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai lied through its teeth about the mining that is going on at Chiadzwa Diamond Fields.

Only last month, they told us that the companies that have been given concessions to mine the area were "not mining the areas that are under dispute" - referring to the fight against Government by African Consolidated Resources, which is the original holder of the licence to the Marange claim.

ACR had their licence withdrawn (probably because they are British) and had 129 400 carats of diamonds they had already mined seized, never to be seen again.

But now it has been revealed that the two mining companies in partnership with Zimbabwe Government-owned ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mineral Development Corporation) are actually mining the claims that belong to ACR and "on a large scale".

ACR are now asking the High Court to evict the two companies: Canadile Mining and Mbada Mining.

There are other revealing details as well. Mbada mining has been very secretive and media-shy. Its shareholders are not publicly known and even its officials appear reluctant to talk at all.

Canadile is more forthcoming and is said to be a South African firm.

The secretive one, though, is getting unbelievable concessions from this government. They have chartered a plane from South Africa to fly in and out at will (one wonders what else is being flown out). On top of that, they are leasing the Old Hangar at Harare International Airport.

They have also outspent Canadile by a mile in terms of capital expenditure at the Diamond Fields.

No one in this Inclusive Government has asked questions about this at any point. This fight over the Diamond Fields is doing more than sanctions ever could to scare away foreign investment. Even domestic investment is not safe, lest a big and powerful politician takes a liking to your company and decides to seize it on some pretext or other.

Ask James Makamba.

Ask Mutumwa Mawere.

So, with this travesty taking place under the nose of the Prime Minister and his team, they see it fit not to fight Mugabe over this and instead ask for appointments of lackeys to posts and positions?

How does keeping quiet about this qualify as a way of "alleviating the people's suffering", which is the Prime Minister's stock-answer every time the question is asked why he joined forces with Mugabe in a coalition.

So, this is how its done? Turning a blind eye while investor confidence is torn to shreds by people whose focus is now only on self-enrichment and damn the nation. Why should this be tolerated for a day, let alone eleven months, without so much as a squeak from the party in government that we expect to put the people first?


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