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11 Nov 2020

Clayton Masekesa, Zim mining post

Zimbabwe: Solders have turned Marange diamond fields into a lawlessness and impunity zone says NGO

‘Renewed terror in Chiadzwa diamond fields’ 11 November 2020

The gigantic diamond fields in Chiadzwa have come to resemble a torture barrack, as rogue soldiers are allegedly unleashing a reign of terror by attacking defenseless villagers in a renewed act of human rights abuses. A recent visit by Zim Morning Post revealed that the latest rounds of abuses by members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has become unbearable, as they are reportedly robbing villagers of their money and valuables. Affected villagers said under the current deployment of soldiers, the situation had ironically worsened. It is reported that on October 18, armed soldiers robbed a shop belonging to one Audacious Nyazika at Chingome Business Centre in Marange and made away with a paltry ZWL250 and an Itel cellphone.

… Businesspersons there said the army had unlawfully ordered the business operators at Zengeni Business Centre to close their shops. “There have been fears all over. They come here and force us to close our shops, but if you give them money and beer they will not close the shop or harass you,” said a businessman. “This is another terror tactic that we have succumbed to. I do not know whether this will end. It is best to close the shops because there is no reason to continue operating, as all the profits are being forcefully taken by the soldiers,” added another shop owner. Human rights defender and Director of Centre for Natural Resource and Governance (CNRG), Farai Maguwu, said Marange had become a zone of lawlessness and impunity.

… “The appalling human rights situation in Marange is a stain on the entire diamond industry. “These tainted diamonds from Marange fields continue to find their way into global markets because Zimbabwe is deemed to be KP compliant,” he said. James Mupfumi, the Director of Centre for Research and Development (CRD), said diamond mining in Marange was being done at the backdrop of human rights violations. Mupfumi said: “Government must now undertake human rights impact assessment sessions in order to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for adverse human rights impacts.” Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) deputy director Shamiso Mutisi said the organisation had begun to conduct human rights sessions among security forces… “The primary objective was to help inculcate a culture of corporate accountability, responsible mining and respect for human rights at ZCDC following many reported cases of abuse of villagers and artisanal miners by private and public security agents,” Mutisi said.