Villagers call for ZCDC disbanding

MUTARE – THE Marange diamond mining community has said the recent
firing of some Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) top
executives has been long overdue and is stepping up efforts to force
the embattled miner to halt operations as it is worse off than the
previous mining companies.
The ZCDC board recently fired its top executives, including under-fire
chief executive Morris Mpofu in the wake of diamond pilferage amid
allegations of corruption.
Mpofu appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court last week, facing
criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly recommended that
ZCDC should sell diamonds to a blacklisted buyer. He was released on $2 000 bail by magistrate Barbara Mateko.
The seven include Mpofu, chief finance officer Charles Gambe, supply
chain executive Newton Demba, chief human resources executive
Masciline Chikoore, engineering executive Andrew Murwisi and Cleopatra
Mutisi, the audit executive as well as the chief security officer,
likely Clement Munoriarwa, who is listed as the company’s protection
and surveillance services executive on its website.
The government in 2016 ceased operations of nine diamond companies
following their failure to renew operating licences, amid reports they
had failed to account for all the gems they mined.
In interviews by The Zimbabwe Morning Post on Monday, the communities
implored the government to disband ZCDC over its glaring failure to
run Marange diamonds transparently and uphold human rights abuses.
Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu said ZCDC
was taking the nation for a ride.
“ZCDC is just a group of looters, led by officials in the Mines
ministry. “It is a group of corrupt officials who have worsened mining
operations in Marange. Proper investigations must be done. ZCDC was
set up so that some individuals continue looting the resources,” said
He urged the communities in Marange and other civil society
organisations not to relax but to stand up for their cause.
“If it is to die then the people must die because of the Marange
diamonds. If it is marching all the way to those responsible and
demonstrate our anger then we will do that,” he said.
Centre for Research and Development director James Mupfumi said ZCDC
was another example of a company that has exposed government’s failure
to run public enterprises because of corruption and cronyism.
“Until there is political will to transform these institutions of
governance that have been personalized, people of Marange will
continue to live in abject poverty whilst their resources are being
plundered by a chosen few,” he said.
The communities said the poor performance by ZCDC has infuriated them
and have called for sanity to prevail in the sector.
Concerned villagers said human rights violations have worsened
perpetrated by soldiers, the police, and security guards from ZCDC.
Hebert Muchafuruka said serious pollution has multiplied on local
water sources and some villagers have been exposed to serious health
“It is dust everywhere. Houses are covered in dust and the heavy
machines are actually operating at the doorsteps of the households.
The previous companies that were mining the diamonds were better,” he
“The water has become undrinkable. I don’t know how we have been
surviving. We do not know how we will ever get clean water to drink
from. We are actually drinking mud and this ZCDC is doing nothing but
only giving false promises,” Muchafuruka said.
The villagers said they thought the coming in of ZCDC would bring
relief to them.
“But it has come out that it is worse off. We have seen many people
losing jobs. But ZCDC has failed to consider the local people for
employment. We have noted that the company is employing new employees
from outside the community and worse off from other areas out of
Manicaland,” said Hebert Chawa a villager.
Traditional leaders have also joined the plight.
“I represent the people but this is now what we expected from ZCDC. We
only hear that diamonds are being stolen each and every time. Who is
stealing those diamonds? It the people from ZCDC who are stealing the
diamonds,” said a traditional leader who requested anonymity.
“We now call on the government to halt the operations of ZCDC because
it has done nothing for the betterment of our lives of our people,” he
There have been growing concerns over the continuous looting of
diamonds through well organised syndicates including top employees of
ZCDC and organised syndicates at the porous Chiadzwa diamond fields.