Thursday, 24 May 2012

We demand transparency in Diamonds

Zimbabwe is faced with an unemployment rate of more than 90%. The discovery of diamonds in Chiadzwa area brought hope to many Zimbabweans especially after more than a decade of scorching economic pain caused by ZANU PF’s maladministration and economic lunacy.

It is projected that if the industry is fully exploited the Zimbabwean gems can contribute 10% to the global diamond market. However, exactly after a year of full exploitation and trading, those hopes have been battered and are now expectedly fading away. Zimbabweans hoped that the gems will change their lives. Now, reality is dawning that what seemed to be a wonder of the world was just a discovery for a greedy few. The diamonds contribution to the fiscus smells more of a curse than a fortune.
Transparency in the mining and selling of diamonds has come under heavy scrutiny from stakeholders across the country. Recently the Prime Minister made a familiarisation tour to inspect the operation of diamond Companies. The tour unearthed many grey areas that still need urgent attention to uplift the lives of all Zimbabweans. Amongst the biggest issue is transparency and accountability of operations and sale of diamonds.
It is disheartening to the youths of Zimbabwe that whilst diamond mining should benefit the masses, ZANU PF is looting and diverting the much needed proceeds to unproductive and selfish personal avenues.
According to reliable sources the amount of royalties that have been remitted are at a tangent with the level of activity at the mining field. This has raised suspicions of theft, corruption, connivance and collusion to rob the nation. A close following of statistics released by both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Mining about projected output and royalty receipts shows that there is a shocking disparity of figures. The legitimacy of these projected figures by responsible authorities  have come under heavy criticism as this shows that  there is a deliberate ploy by ZANUPF to distort and understate the amount of diamond proceeds with an aim to loot the revenue for personal gains.
It is sad that while the country is bleeding due to a plethora of problems such as acute liquidity crisis, low FDI and massive unemployment, ZANU PF is looting the national resources in broad daylight for a selfish agenda. Instead of walking the talk about total empowerment, ZANU PF has chosen to deny the masses the right to equitably share the new national cake.

The MDC Youth Assembly condemns such corrupt practices and disparities in remittances figures by relevant authorities with all their pound of flesh and we are demanding accountability by mining firms from the extraction to the actual sale of the diamond. To improve accountability ZIMRA should also be involved along the diamond production chain as it is the custodian of Zimbabwe’s revenue. We are also requesting the release of credible statistics about diamonds proceeds.
 It is said Zimbabwe is expected to rack $600million from diamond revenue and a maximum of 45ml carats are likely to be produced this year. However, it is also claimed that a single mine ANJIN has the capacity to produce the same output in 3 months. Moreover this clearly shows that there is massive understating of proceeds by ZANU PF in order to enrich themselves. The accuracy of figures released by relevant authorities have come under the spotlight, a closer analysis of events leading to the announcement of this year budget shows that initially a budget of 3,4 billion was set but after KPCS Certified ANJIN trading status , the budget was changed to $4 billion. This shows that 600million was expected from ANJIN stockpiles only and if proceeds from other companies are considered Zimbabwe expects much more Income. However the projection of 600milionl by the whole industry without doubt shows that there is a pre- determined plot to understate diamond revenue with an aim to loot the proceeds from the gems.
 We also condemn the involvement of Zimbabwe National Army in mining at Chiadzwa. Soldiers must stay in the barracks. The involvement of ZNA in mining activities has been done at the expense of the youth who represent the future. The move to involve ZNA clearly shows that ZANU PF believes in financing military operation to maintain its tyranny at the expense of critical national problems. Zimbabwe is facing one of the highest unemployment rates on the planet, acute liquidity crisis, underpaid civil servants, poor infrastructure and communicable diseases like typhoid. Despite all these problems ZANU PF has chosen to finance terror at the expense of financing socio-economic development. This clearly shows that ZANU PF is against the agenda of youth upliftment and characteristically anti-people.
More over the people of Zimbabwe are demanding accountability in parastatals governing the sale and marketing of these precious gems.  The demand for accountability in Institution like ZMDC and MMZ have also taken a centre stage with various stakeholders in GNU requesting independent audits to investigate financial affairs of these organisations. However the move is being blocked by ZANU PF as they are part of the syndicate in abusing diamond funds. The integrity of the board for ZMDC is also questionable as it is being led by Goodwills Masimirembwa who happens to be a deregistered lawyer. The syndicate of Masimirembwa and Mines minister Obert Mpofu can be traced way back in 2007, when Mpofu as the then minister of Trade and Commerce. Mpofu appointed Goodwills Masimirembwa as the chairperson of National Incomes and Pricing Commission.

There is little known but a lot to be desired

For and on behalf of the youth of Zimbabwe

MDC Youth Assembly Information Department

Together to end,building a youth with a difference.

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