The claim, according to a mining expert who talked to The Zimbabwean, is rich in gems of jewellery quality estimated to go 70 metres deep.
Zanu (PF) Provincial Women’s League has laid claim to the underground
diamond deposits in this Midlands farming area close to Gweru, putting
itself at loggerheads with a group of war veterans aligned to the party.
The women are being fronted by a commercial pressure group, Women in
Mining Zimbabwe, which has the support of the party’s provincial
chairperson, Jason Machaya, who is also the Provincial Governor and
According to sources, the women’s league in the
Midlands province recently set a fence around the claim - but the war
veterans countered by delimiting a bigger area with another fence. This
sparked anger in the league which, reportedly, recently staged a
demonstration against the war veterans.
Tsitsi Muzenda, the
daughter of the late Vice President and deputy to President Robert
Mugabe in Zanu (PF), Simon Muzenda, played an important role in the
Women’s League being allotted the claim by Machaya.
She admitted her involvement in the scheme, but told The Zimbabwean:
only sought to help and facilitate the acquisition of the diamond
claim, but am not active in that.” She acknowledged that Angelina, the
widow of Josiah Tongogara, former leader of Zanla, Zanu (PF)’s military
wing during the war of liberation, was part of the women’s group
fighting for control of the mine.
Angelina, who hails from the
province, was reported to be living in poverty after the party neglected
her. But she would not give substantive comments regarding her
involvement. When contacted for comment she said she was busy at a
memorial service “but we can always talk some other time”.
veterans are led by the association’s Midlands Chairperson, Tozivanashe
Shumba, who is insisting that his members are the rightful owners of
the claim. “We have the papers (to demonstrate that we are the rightful
owners. I was shocked to see and hear that the Women’s League wants to
operate on our claim. Why do they want to disturb us?” he said. Neither
of the warring parties has started mining because of lack of equipment.
Zanu (PF) dispute, sources said, is a reflection of the deep-seated
factionalism within the party. The Women’s League is reported to be
supported by Machaya, who in turn is said to belong to a faction led by
Vice President Joyce Mujuru.
The war veterans, on the other hand,
are reportedly on the side of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the party’s Legal
Secretary and Defence Minister.
Even the before this latest
battle, the diamond claim was the stage for a protracted dispute between
a private company fronted by the party’s supporters and a Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe special purpose vehicle set up by Gideon Gono during the
period when the central bank dabbled in quasi-fiscal activities.
to a High Court judgment given in March last year in Bulawayo, the
claim is situated on Kleimport Farm previously owned by one Magiel
Casper Jovner, a white Zimbabwean by birth. But this is now state land,
having been gazetted for compulsory acquisition by the government.
RBZ subsidiary, Carslone Enterprises Private Limited, assumed mining
activities on the farm after it was taken from Jovner, but in 2010,
another company, Shuma Mining Syndicate, took the matter to the High
Court seeking to assume ownership.
It argued that Carslone, which
had been mining the diamonds since 2008, was winding up business after a
stop to RBZ’s quasi-fiscal tenure, but the High Court ruled in favour
of the central bank’s subsidiary to remain put, even though it
acknowledged that the company’s ownership of the claim was in dispute.
also claimed that it had been granted mining rights by Machaya, a
position that sources say still stands, meaning that the Women’s League
is supposed to be jointly exploiting the diamonds.
Shuma demonstrated in court that it had entered into an agreement to take over the mine with Jovner.