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Row Over Control of Marange Diamond Field Splits Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF

Tensions in Zimbabwe's former ruling ZANU-PF party have escalated as factions position for control of the Marange diamond field following a High Court decision upholding an agreement between the government and a resources company which Harare repudiated in 2006.

Sources said ZANU-PF heavyweight Solomon Mujuru, a former military commander, holds a 3% stake in African Consolidated Resources, the firm that brought the high court suit. Calls placed by VOA to Mujuru were not returned. However sources said he bought company shares through the London Stock Exchange where ACR is listed.

Meanwhile, ZANU-PF sources said Army Gen. Constantine Chiwenga and Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri have teamed up with Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close associate of President Robert Mugabe, to bar Mujuru faction control of the field.

Though the High Court ruled that the firm can proceed with mining operations even if the government appeals the decision, as it has done, Attorney General Johannes Tomana told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that lodging the appeal stays the court ruling.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga, who has investigated alleged human rights abuses in Marange, said the government’s defiant stand shows there is no rule of law in Zimbabwe.

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme has tacitly threatened to bar sale of Zimbabwean diamonds on world markets if Harare fails to act on recommendations by a Kimberly team sent to investigate conditions in the diamond field, including its demilitarization.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...