By Clayton Masekesa
Some foreign investors have lined their pockets through unscrupulous deals with connected Zanu (PF) individuals and ministers to plunder diamond revenue, says a local NGO.
In an interview on the side-lines of an Ethics and Accountability Forum organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe, Farai Maguwu, the Director of The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) accused the Zanu (PF) government of stifling diamond revenue through the perpetuation of well-calculated and deliberate practices on negotiating diamond mining deals with foreign investors.
“The country has great opportunities for foreign direct investment but the unfortunate thing is that the type of foreign investors that we have right now are crooks. Our country is under siege from criminals masquerading as investors,” said Maguwu.
“There is money in Zimbabwe, but it is in the wrong hands.
The problem is in our government where we see individuals and ministers negotiate deals in their individual capacities so that they line their pockets at the expense of the country as a whole.
“We have seen officials and ministers making friends with the foreign investors, who are lining their pockets through our mineral resources, but not to the benefit of Zimbabweans. That is why you have seen a minister buying almost the whole of Victoria Falls,” he added.
The firebrand Maguwu said failure by the Zanu (PF) government to disclose ownership in the mining sector while conspiring with foreign investors to either deny or divert proceeds of community ownership schemes was proof that the indigenisation laws were crafted to benefit the political elite at the expense of the economy.
He urged the government to renegotiate mining agreements with foreign investors who had used the country’s political crisis to take advantage of its mineral wealth.
Maguwu said foreign mineral investments over the past decade had been highly controversial and of little consequence to employment creation and revenue generation.
“The indigenisation policy is a brilliant idea, but it has been politicised. The government should have consulted stakeholders and the people on the ground on how best it can be Crafted. It is unfortunate that one minister championed the invasions of companies and now the economy is bleeding. For us to move forward on indigenisation there is need for dialogue among business leaders, church leaders, civil society, trade unions, NGOs and the international community,” said Maguwu. The Zimbabwean