Lethal guns kill dozens in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani
STATE-OWNED mining concern Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is haggling with its security company over the deployment of lethal guns in Chiadzwa and Chimanimani against Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) regulations.
Trust Me Security (TMS) is insisting it won the security tender and cannot invest in non-lethal firearms at the tail end of their contract.
The award, however, exposes a serious blip in the tender process of the gun-sensitive sector.
Extractive human rights defender Farai Maguwu said the continued declaration of Marange diamonds as ‘conflict free’ in the face such use of live ammunition made the KPCS a circus.
“Live ammunition has been used in Marange since 2008, hundreds have lost their lives, thousands maimed. This is something KP can easily verify if they are serious about driving conflict diamonds out of circulation,” Maguwu said in an exclusive interview with Zim Morning Post.
“The use of guns against artisanal miners and surrounding communities is the very reason that caused the UN to step in and pass resolutions 55/56 of 2000 leading to the formation of the KP.”
“But 20 years later we still have gun violence in Marange and the diamonds declared ‘conflict free.’ It’s a circus,” Maguwu added.
The diamond mining company which is concerned over the implications of the use of 303 type of guns within diamond concessions are threatening not to pay for the deployment of the guns which they increasingly see as a liability if the company failed to comply.
ZCDC demands the use of Mossberg type of guns which use pellets.
Highly placed sources said TMS’s operations and finance managers were first informed about ZCDC’s reservations on their guns in a meeting held in Chiadzwa on March 17 this year.
The matter was again raised on September 10, this time with the mining company giving them a one-month ultimatum to dump their dangerous weapons or they would not sign their gun deployment schedule for payment.
TMS director Trust Dzinoruma confirmed the issue but said they have since written to the company for a reprieve as they had won the tender clearly highlighting the nature of guns in their armoury.
“We went to tender and highlighted the nature of guns we have… we have since written to ZCDC requesting for a reprieve since we are now already coming to the end of our contract with them,” Dzinoruma said.
ZCDC public relations manager Sugar Chagonda could not confirm that his organisation was making demands on change of guns but said the security company did not own any 303 rifles.
“They don’t have 303s as suggested but they have other weapons that I’m not at liberty to discuss in the media for security reasons,” Chagonda said.
An internal report within TMS, however, appears to suggest that the company had 303 and 303 type of rifles.
Part of the report warned that if they “continue to deploy 303 rifles” they would not be paid as “the KPC which regulates the sale of diamonds does not approve the use of 303 type of rifles because they are lethal.”
An undocumented number of people have been shot and killed by both state and private security guards in the mining concession since government moved in to formalise the extraction of the precious stone in 2008 with human rights groups estimating the number of people who have been killed stands at over 200.