Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Thankful Musukutwa refused Tuesday to respond to certain questions from Parliament’s Committee on Mines as to how government partners in two diamond joint ventures were selected to develop the increasingly controversial Marange field in the east.
Correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from the House of Assembly that Musukutwa told the Mines Committee that he could not go into the matter as it was under discussion within the Cabinet.
Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, the capital of Manicaland province in which the Marange field is located, that the permanent secretary’s refusal to answer parliamentary questions signals a lack of transparency.
Meanwhile, Kimberly Process monitor Abbey Chikane of South Africa was in the country for three days to look into alleged Zimbabwean noncompliance with Kimberly standards and the work plan that Harare committed to in Namibia last December.
Kimberly process chairman Boaz Hirsch tells Reporter Sandra Nyaira Chikane’s arrival in Zimbabwe is the first of many important steps to be taken in efforts to ensure Zimbabwe complies with KP standards in the mining and selling of its diamonds.
In a related development, the head of the youth wing of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the premier must not lose focus in trying to root out diamond-related corruption in Marange because of threats by ZANU-PF youths over Western sanctions.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi repored from Harare.
ZANU-PF youth marched in Harare last week to protest Western travel and financial sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and the state-controlled Herald newspaper later reported that the youths issued an ultimatum saying Mr. Tsvangirai must do more to end sanctions or face unspecified consequences.