Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe has said some diamond mining firms that refused to partner the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company because they wanted to make money for themselves, are free to leave.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with ZBC-TV last night, President Mugabe said the diamond mining industry was now in the hands of the State.
The diamond mining firms which operated at Chiadzwa for many years, did not benefit the country and at one time, President Mugabe bemoaned the prejudice of $15 billion in revenue the country suffered.
“These various companies, which operated alongside the ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Company) operated for quite a long period,” said President Mugabe.
“We do not know how the earnings from their operations were accounted for and it is just that they regard them as their own earnings, and nothing seems to have come to ZMDC, which was a partner and in turn, nothing seems to have come to Government as revenue.
“We decided, after studying how the diamond sector was controlled in two countries, perhaps three, Botswana, Namibia and Angola and they are just one company, which may have two operations or so, the system in Botswana, and the system in Namibia. It was two. I looked at it and was satisfied that there was need for consolidation.”
President Mugabe said these companies did not want anyone else or small companies to mine the diamonds.
“The diamond industry is in the hands of the State. I was told of how they are very strict on diamonds issues because that is a resource dependent upon in the main, for their survival,” he said.
The President said the Government offered the Chinese, Lebanese and South African-owned Mbada Diamond Mine the choice to join Government in a consolidated company or to go away.
“The Chinese said they wanted to go, the Lebanese wanted to go and Mbada, owned by the South Africans wanted to go,” he said.
“Aaah! So, we said, think again. They did not want consolidation. We said, why would you resent consolidation? It’s a get-together and work-together and then we share the product.”
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said the operations of the ZCDC have been affected by lawsuits instituted by the companies that refused to join Government.
President Mugabe commended the mega deals signed between Zimbabwe and China.
He said when he visited China during his annual vacation, he had time to discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping how the deals could be accelerated.
The Chinese deals, said the President, were good programmes “for me in general to ensure that we are strongly together, naye Xi Jinping, on the programmes”.
He said China was contributing a lot in the country in terms of investment.