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Zimbabwe PM's Party Says Will Renegotiate Diamond Deals Favoring China

The MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it will renegotiate all deals signed between the Zanu PF government and foreign investors like China, especially in the controversial Marange diamond fields.

Citing the deal between Harare and Chinese company Anjin Investments in Chiadzwa, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jameson Timba, said Zimbabwe was losing billions in revenue due to agreements favoring countries like China.

Anjin, he revealed in a talk Thursday at the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights, owns 90 percent of the joint company with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) taking only 10 percent.

Timba said Harare gave the Chinese 90 percent shareholding in the company to offset a $500 million debt with China for arms of war delivered to Zimbabwe by the Chinese government.

“I admit that as a party we lost the war on diamonds,” Timba said in response to a question on how diamond revenues have propped President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

“However, we are maintaining that there should be more transparency in the way the diamonds are sold. The companies continue to hide behind the sanctions issue saying America will trace our money since the ZMDC is on sanctions so the government gets a little bit and some of the money goes into private pockets.”

He said his party was not happy with some of the deals entered into between Harare and foreign investors in Marange, adding they will all be revised when the MDC gets full control of the government.

Speaking on other issues affecting Zimbabwe presently, Timba said the will of the people should be respected in the next election, adding the nation and the region would be plunged into instability if that does not happen.

He said his party is pushing for democratic reforms, in particular demanding the re-establishment of the Central Intelligence Organization through an Act of Parliament for oversight by lawmakers. His party, Timba said, also is worried by the conduct of some senior military officers and partisan policing, among other issues.

Commenting, Advocacy Officer Jeffrey Smith of the Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights said he was shocked by the revelations regarding Anjin Investments in Zimbabwe.

“That was actually an interesting revelation where he mentions that the agreement that exists between Zimbabwe and Anjin corporation has essentially been used to pay an upwards of $500 million to China for debts for the purchase of military hardware and obviously the question there is what is that military hardware going to be used for," said Smith.

"Zimbabwe faces no external threats so clearly so clearly those are going to be used against the people of Zimbabwe as instruments of violence,” said Smith.