Mnangagwa Faction Wants Marange Diamond Contracts Nullified

The Zanu PF faction loyal to Justice Minister and potential successor to President Robert Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the scrapping of diamond contracts granted under controversial circumstances in the Marange fields.
In an “analysis” titled “Shut Down Chiadzwa”, published in the Mnangagwa-controlled Sunday Mail, the faction called for a reduction in the number of diamond miners operating in Marange.
The about-turn is believed to have been triggered by the faction’s loss of control of diamond assets in the area following the sacking of loyalist and former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu by Mugabe amid scandals that were revealed in Parliament in 2013. The new Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa, Mugabe’s cousin, has since kicked out the top management of Marange Resources, who are said to have been loyal to Mnangagwa, including CEO Obert Dube. Chidhakwa also axed the entire board of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, which is managing state diamond joint ventures in Marange.
“Zimbabweans across various socio-economic strata are urging the Government to take decisive action to restore accountability in Chiadzwa, including shutting down the diamond fields, while measures are taken to maximise the nation’s benefit from the precious mineral,” the Zanu PF mouthpiece said.
The paper’s stance tallies with calls from international diamond monitors for government to reduce the number of players in Marange to enhance transparency. The Centre for Research and Development said all diamond contracts should be cancelled while proper systems were put in place.
The idea was strongly resisted by Mnangagwa and his allies while he was Defence Minister and installed several army chiefs to run the business.
Mnangagwa was instrumental in bringing the Chinese Red Army into the disputed fields, which were seized forcibly from UK-based miner, African Consolidated Resources (ACR) in 2009. ACR has since been booted out of the Marange fields.
The Sunday Mail claimed that the new stance “comes in the wake of clear indications that the present system where several companies are mining the fields does not effectively unlock real value to the nation, but, instead, oils self-serving interests. An emerging perspective now calls for one or two entities to mine the national resource to ensure greater transparency and accountability”.
Industry analysts, however, lambasted the government for only trying to act after billions of dollars worth of diamonds were lost.

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