Zimbabwean civil society organizations have named Farai Maguwu, director of the Mutare-based Center for Research and Development, to represent them as Kimberly Process investigations continue in Zimbabwe.
State prosecutors are currently prosecuting the activist on charges that he published or communicated falsehoods prejudicial to the state in connection with the controversial Marange diamond field of Manicaland.
The National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations said the so-called civil society focal point will include a technical committee of groups lobbying and advocating on Marange issues and other natural resources.
The appointment awaits approval by the Kimberly Process. If approved as civic focal point, Maguwu will work with Kimberly monitor Abbey Chikane, who came under fire from civic activists two months ago for surrendering documents he had received from Maguwu to the Harare government, ultimately leading to Maguwu’s prosecution.
But Maguwu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that working with Chikane will not be a problem for him.
Elsewhere, Environment Minister Francis Nhema said the government is planning to ban imports of second-hand cars to protect the environment from high carbon emissions and save lives. Press reports quoted Nhema as saying that some countries are dumping second-hand vehicles in Zimbabwe that exceed legal emissions.
Nhema said the ban will revive the battered local motor vehicle industry following a decade of contraction in the key industrial sector. But skeptics said banning second-hand vehicle imports will erode Zimbabwe’s revenue base and cripple the massive informal motor vehicle industry and downstream sectors.
Sam Ncube, national vice president of the Affirmative Action Group, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the proposed ban is ill-timed as most businesses cannot afford locally assembled cars. But economist Eric Bloch said the proposed ban will in fact boost the local motor vehicle industry and contribute to state coffers.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce President Trust Chikohora said the government should consult businesses before crafting a law targeting imports of second-hand vehicle.