The Zimbabwean government, concerned at the prospect of lost revenues from the Chiadzwa diamond field in Marange district, Manicaland province, has created an inter-ministerial team to respond to Kimberly Process allegations of widespread abuses in the field.
The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme has recommended Zimbabwe voluntarily suspend operations in Chiadzwa until it meets minimum standards for mining and selling diamonds into the world market.
The team includes Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Trade Minister Welshman Ncube.
Government sources said Zimbabwe is taking the issue seriously after receiving a strongly-worded letter from Kimberly Process Chairman Bernard Esau this week on the need to protect all those who provided evidence to a recent Kimberly review mission to the area.
The letter highlighted sanctions against Chief Norman Chiadzwa, whose property is said to have been confiscated by security forces after he spoke with Kimberly mission members.
Esau, deputy mines minister of Namibia, told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Windhoek is ready to help Zimbabwe meet Kimberly standards.
Human rights lawyer Zvikomborero Chadambuka said he has gone to court in an effort to recover property confiscated from Chief Chiadzwa.