The party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), has threatened to nullify illegal Marange diamond mining agreements and tighten screws on the embattled industry if it comes to power.
MDC-T secretary-general and Minister of Finance Tendai Biti said the measures targetting the diamond industry were part of urgent reforms needed if the country was to raise $42 billion needed immediately for development.
“Zimbabwe needs to create wealth and value at this present moment. We require huge amounts of capital for the country’s reconstruction,” Biti said on Thursday.
He said $14.5 billion was required for infrastructure, $5b for industry, $7b for mining, $2b for agriculture, $1b for social services and delivery, $10.7b for Zimbabwe’s external debt, $2b for internal debt, including RBZ debt and domestic arrears.
“From the point of view of our Movement, the above resource gap will be financed by domestic savings and resource mobilisation; ring-fencing mining resources particularly diamond revenues; rationalizing state enterprises; revising the mines and minerals Act so that real value is obtained from mining assets, including revisiting existing mining agreements concluded nocturnally against Zimbabwe’s laws,” Biti said.
A parliamentary report recently accused Mines minister Obert Mpofu of issuing diamond concessions and setting up state joint ventures with shadowy characters without following procedures. A Parliamentary committee accused all diamond companies in Marange of not paying full taxes. Reports have also surfaced of massive looting of billions of dollars worth of diamonds by elements of the Chinese Red Army, in partnership with Zimbabwe Defence Force brass.


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