ZIMBABWE is endowed with vast mineral resources, ranging from gold, diamonds, coal, asbestos, platinum and many others, which are capable of transforming the country’s economic fortunes.
Manicaland is home to most of these minerals with gold and diamonds being the major ones.
To exploit these, Government has partnered with serious investors to mine some of the minerals and ensure that their extraction is done transparently and for the benefit of the country as a whole.
In Chiadzwa, Marange, the formation of the State-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) was meant to bring order at the fields and ensure that the gems are mined in a transparent manner using the best recommended international standards.
However, the existence of such noble Government investment vehicles is being threatened by corruption which derails good projects.
Elsewhere in this issue we carry two disturbing stories in which two cops, who, ordinarily, were supposed to drive out illegal diamond dealers from Chiadzwa or rather, arrest them on sight, demanded bribes from the same culprits to enable them to steal the precious gems.
On Tuesday ZCDC chief security officer Mr Elias Mvere revealed during a conference in Mutare that illegal diamond panners remain a major threat to mining operations in Chiadzwa.
He said their illicit activities were a threat to the national economy.
Despite the heavy presence of law enforcement agents who are supposed to beef up security at the diamond fields from outside and the existence of private security company details who operate from within, illegal diamond panners are finding their way into the fields because of corruption.
The illegal panners were operating from various bases situated in the mountains while some are being offered rented accommodation by local villagers and shop owners.
Their covert operations were being sponsored by wealthy diamond dealers.
Candidly, the culprits who are sponsoring these illegal diamond miners are well known and it requires bold steps to be taken by the law enforcement agents to bring them to book.
The bases from which these illegal diamond miners are operating from are well known and it’s just a matter of flushing them out of these hideouts and making arrests.
Letting these criminals to sneak daily, under the cover of darkness, into the diamond fields and steal the national resource for their own personal gain, is a sure threat.
The arrest of the three police officers is a clear indication of the corruption that has tainted the bulk of law enforcers working in Chiadzwa.
A wholesome re-orientation of the human resource that is protecting the diamond fields from the illegal activities in needed quickly because the type of criminals who want to land their hands on the precious gems pay out huge amounts in foreign currency as bribes.
These illegal diamond buyers should not be allowed to come anywhere near the diamond fields. Setting up strict security check points around the fields is paramount.
Officer Commanding Manicaland Police Commissioner Dr Wiklef Makamache needs support to stamp out corrupt officers from the rank and file of the police force.
He is forthright on the arrest of the three cops who allegedly demanded kickbacks from illegal diamond buyers operating in Marange, when he points out the zero tolerance drive on corruption as a bold call coming from the highest office in the land and, in like fashion, the police were implementing the same.
Members of the public must come out in the open and make noise by blowing the whistle on individuals benefiting from corrupt activities.