Zimbabwe: Call for transparency, citizen participation & accountability in management of mineral resources

Author: Mukasiri Sibanda, Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association , Published on: 15 April 2019

Champions needed to jumpstart mineral revenue transparency reforms

Many times, it has been stated, Zimbabwe is open for business. But, can Zimbabwe be open about business, especially mining deals. Limited transparency in the mining sector disempowers citizens on holding government and corporates accountable. It is impossible for citizens to scrutinise decisions and to ask pointed questions on how mineral wealth is managed to uplift their living standards, better schools, modern hospitals and access to clean and safe water. Possible, a glimmer of hope comes from the 2019 National Budget Statement which made a firm commitment to implement the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global best practice. This is not a new development, however. In 2011, the Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI), an adapted version of EITI was fruitless.

…Given Zimbabwe’s struggles to open the mining sector for public scrutiny, perhaps, champions in government and business are critical to enable openness about mining business, particularly its linkages to sustainable development. The role of champions gains elevation considering key developments around devolution. Local government and mining companies have an opportunity to take leadership role on promoting transparency, citizen participation and accountability in the management of mineral resources.

…During a discussion on strengthen transparency, participation of residents in generation, allocation and utilisation of mineral revenue, a significant milestone was achieved. Mutoko RDC and Natural Stone, a black granite mining company agreed to public disclosure of mineral revenue. Natural Stone was represented by Dr Muvhuro, the human resource manager who have many hats as the spokesperson of Dimensional Stones Producers Association (DSPA) and the current Vice President of the Chamber of Mines…In conclusion, civil society organisations, government and mining companies must make sure that EITI implementation should not fail. In this process, it is important to mobilise a pool of champions to eliminate any fears that Zimbabwe is open about business in the mining sector. As such, the steps taken by Mutoko RDC and Natural Stone are quite encouraging. “In fact, the disclosure should include environment management information, mining agreements and all payments made to all government institutions” said Joyce Nyamukunda

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