SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Leaked document behind police hunt for diamond researcher

By Violet Gonda
1 June 2010

A leaked document compiled by the police for the Joint Operations Command (JOC) is said to be behind the crackdown on the most important civil society organisation monitoring the diamond fields. It also highlights the fact that there has been no security sector reform under the Global Political Agreement.

Reliable sources told SW Radio Africa that Farai Maguwu, the director of the Center for Research and Development, who was forced into hiding after police raided his offices in Mutare last week, is being victimised for allegedly leaking this document compiled by the police for the JOC.

The CRD has been investigating the ongoing human rights abuses at the diamond fields in Chiadzwa, Marange, which involve the police and security forces.

The document is titled: Brief for Sub-National JOC by Assistant Commissioner Mawere N. on Operation Hakudzokwi Phase V11 on 07/05/201) and has apparently been circulating in Zimbabwe and South Africa for the past several weeks. It seems to have been obtained from a senior ZANU-PF source.

Maguwu allegedly passed the document on to the Kimberley Process monitor for Marange, Abbey Chikane, last Tuesday. Chikane was appointed earlier this year by the diamond regulating body to investigate allegations of illegal mining and black market exports of Marange’s raw diamonds. Human rights groups have claimed that Marange’s diamond production has fuelled mass human rights abuses in and around the diamond fields, and is fuelling political tensions within the GPA government.

The leaked document is a review of recent security forces actions in the diamond areas of eastern Zimbabwe. It confirms recent allegations by the CRD and other local human rights organisations that illegal mining continues out of control – and that the security forces are playing a key role as active participants. This includes the continuing involvement of security force personnel in illegal mining syndicates in Marange.

The document also shows there has been no security sector reform under the GPA, particularly with regard to the Joint Operations Command.

JOC is made up of all the army generals, the police commissioner, the prison chief, the CIO Director General and the Minister of Defence.

Under the GPA, the newly formed National Security Council, made up of JOC members, the Principals to the GPA and some senior ministers, is meant to assume key responsibilities for monitoring and redressing rights abuses and politically-linked violence. JOC was accorded ‘operational supervision’ of the national security forces, and is meant to report in a transparent and non-partisan fashion to the unity government.

But the leaked document is addressed only to JOC and there is no evidence of the flow of information and delegation of authority over security reform in Marange to other sections of the inclusive government – including the MDC.

The Brief clearly exposes how an outgoing contingent of the 2.2 infantry battalion formed syndicates with illegal diamond panners towards the end of its tour of duty.

It also confirms information, already made public, concerning the shooting in early April of a suspected ‘gweja’ (illegal panner) by Lance Corporal Maride of 4.2 infantry battalion.

The report to JOC claims disciplinary action and sweep operations are underway and that 14 officers have recently been expelled.

The document also reveals continuing major problems in the volatile Marange district, where mining Minister Obert Mpofu recently proclaimed the “normalisation” of security. In contrast, the report underlines the persistence of illegal mining, and the seeming inability of government security forces to stop it. Worse, the report notes a general slide towards chaos, citing for example; ‘the need to supply adequate food rations to security forces to avoid cases of armed robbery and indiscipline’.

It is also suspected that the KP Monitor, South African Abbey Chikane, was the one who handed the document to state security agencies. Well placed sources say Chikane defended his decision saying he wanted to find out if it was ‘authentic’.

A diamond sector observer said: “Although he is supposed to be investigating security lapses, Chikane said he did not want to be in possession of an ‘illegal’ document – yet the document in question provides prima facie evidence of exactly the kind of wrong-doing that Chikane is supposed to be investigating. The institutions he voluntarily surrendered the document to, are implicated by that report.”

“The repercussions of this highly selective approach to discerning ‘legality’ are clear, particularly in the wake of the security agencies’ invasion of the CRD. This will have a direct chilling effect on future civil society cooperation with this Monitor.”

Surprisingly the South African monitor has yet to speak out on the raid by police of the CRD offices, the removal of papers and computers and the fact that the CRD staff have been forced into hiding. He has also not spoken out about the victimisation of CRD’s director and his family.

We were not able to reach the KP monitor for comment.

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