Zimbabwe Trying to Block Information about Marange KillingsJune 28, 09
A Zimbabwean parliament member who was about to tell a Kimberley Process delegation details about the killing of diamond diggers at Marange last year was arrested on a kidnapping charge, according to a Sunday Times report. One of the details was a burial site of the slain diggers.
MP Shuwa Mudiwa planned to meet the KP delegation investigating the incident in which at least a dozen illegal diamond diggers were killed during a military attack on them that was part of a campaign to drive the diggers away from the diamond fields.
The delegation is scheduled to visit Zimbabwe this week after an international outcry that the KP process can not accept state sanctioned atrocities as falling within the boundaries of acceptable diamond mining activities. When formed, the KP was designed to battle illegal mining activities by rebel forces that coerced locals to mine for diamonds. The notion that a legal government would behave in a similar way was not taken into account when the KP guidelines were drafted.
Mudiwa is held on a kidnapping charge brought up last year during President Robert Mugabe reelection campaign. The charge is believed to be trumped up.
According to reports, other people the KP delegation plans to meet with have been harassed and intimidated.
Ahead of the annual KP meeting held last week in Namibia, NGOs Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) and Global Witness called to block diamonds mined in Zimbabwe saying it’s “time to plug the leaks.”
The two groups accused the rough diamonds control system of failing to effectively address issues of non-compliance, smuggling, money laundering and human rights abuses in the world's alluvial diamond fields.
Zimbabwe’s Deputy Mining Minister Murisi Zwizwai denied at the meeting that there were any killings in the eastern Marange diamond fields, claiming the reports were “unsubstantiated.”
“Nobody was killed by security forces during an operation at Marange, where about 30,000 people descended onto the alluvial mining field,” Zwizwai contended.