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Zimbabwe Magistrate Refuses Bail for Diamond Activist Despite Kimberly Pressure

  • Mark Nthambe
  • Gibbs Dube

Outside the Kimberly meeting, diamond magnate Martin Rapaport was on a three-day hunger strike saying the oversight group must not sanction what he calls 'blood diamonds' from Zimbabwe's Marange field

A magistrate in Harare, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday denied bail to diamond activist Farai Maguwu despite pressure from officials of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme meeting this week in Tel Aviv, Israel to decide whether to certify diamonds from the highly controversial eastern Marange alluvial field for export.

That meeting of Kimberly Process members continued amid major disagreements over whether Zimbabwe should be certified to sell diamonds from Marange in international markets, sources said.

World Diamond Council President Eli Izhakoff said Kimberly delegates were divided over the issue.

Outside the Kimberly meeting, diamond magnate Martin Rapaport was on a three-day hunger strike saying the oversight group must not sanction what he calls “blood diamonds” from Zimbabwe. Human Rights Watch and other groups have alleged serious human rights abuses by security forces controlling the Marange field.

Elsewhere, the government was expected to publish revised indigenization regulations Friday that would include provisions for Zimbabweans to buy company shares rather than receiving them for free. The new proposals would feature so-called indigenization technical committees to organize share offerings in various sectors.

It is believed the regulations would blend equity and "empowerment credits" which taken together would add up to the officially targeted 51 percent share stake in large companies marked for indigenization.

Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines President Christopher Hokonya told reporter Gibbs Dube that the revised regulations may in particular address mining sector proposals for a 15 percent stake for indigenous investors.

Bulawayo economist Eric Bloch said he expects no more than cosmetic changes in the regulations.

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