Sunday, October 30, 2011
Mugabe facing diamond accusations from MDC MP
An MP from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has named President Robert Mugabe and his family as potential players in diamond activities in alluvial-rich Marange area.
Contributing to a motion by fellow party member Eddie Cross on the need to ensure transparency in Marange, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya also named close Mugabe ally and defense minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and senior military officials as being involved in Marange diamond deals.
“We have a lot of public and media speculation that the first family is involved in diamond mining through Mbada Holdings with their front man being former Air Vice Marshal Robert Mhlanga who is a former personal pilot to President Mugabe and his (Mhlanga) daughter Patience,” said Chikwinya.
“We also have minister of defence Emerson Mnangagwa through the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) in partnership with Anjin from China approaching the minister of mines Obert Mpofu to give them a license to operate but it was delayed because of their factional differences.
“However, the moment he (Mnangagwa) acted as minister of mines in the absence of Mpofu in 2010, he approved the application,” said Chikwinya.
Tempers flared, with ZANU PF MPs leaping to Mugabe’s defense. ZANU PF MP for Zvimba East Patrick Zhuwao angrily objected to the mentioning of Mugabe’s family in diamond dealings.
“I object that the President owns the diamond mines. It is not true,” said Zhuwao. Zhuwao is Mugabe’s nephew.
But Chikwinya was undeterred, saying diamond mining in Marange was associated with chaos.
“Mining of Marange diamonds is characterised by confusion, lawlessness and chaos and no one really knows what is going on and in the context of that confusion smuggling of diamonds is taking place on a massive scale benefiting only a few individuals,” said Chikwinya.
The motion by Cross states that government should take steps to manage and control the exploitation and marketing of the mineral, and to nationalise and prescribe all diamond mining operations both formal and informal in Marange.
The motion was adopted after MPs from the MDC outvoted their ZANU PF counterparts