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Positive developments in the mining sector mean a positive outturn remains a possibility.


Lack of political will detrimental to mining



CIVIL society says there has been no political will for Zimbabwe to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote accountability in the mining sector, a platform that the government has been snubbing despite evidence of mineral leakages through illicit flows.


The EITI is a global standard for open management of gas and mineral resources. Zimbabwe has been losing an estimated US$100 million every month in gold leakages, which translates to over US$1.2 billion annually.

The government’s main argument has been that the EITI is a foreign-driven initiative and that it does not come with clear opportunities for change, according to a report by the Southern Africa Resource Watch titled: Experiences and Benefits of Optimised Mineral Resource Governance for Zimbabwe: Lessons from Sadc EITI Implementing Countries.

 Since 2010, civil society has been pushing for Zimbabwe to join the EITI to improve the management of minerals, but in vain.

“There is no evidence to suggest that Harare wants to join the EITI. After an initial commitment by Mthuli Ncube in 2019, in his 2020 budget statement he has remained mum on the issue and there have not been any meaningful strides.

“What we must understand is that EITI commitment is not a playground for governments that are not ready for fully-fledged transparency initiatives and openness in mineral resource governance. Measured against the rampant corruption, the illicit financial flows, mineral smuggling across borders, among other illicit acts, Zimbabwe is not ready for full disclosure,” said John Maketo, programmes manager for the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd), an independent organisation that champions social and economic justice.

Parliament has added its voice for Zimbabwe to join the EITI.

“We support the EITI because of a number of reasons. One is that the pillars that underpin our national development strategy are transparency, accountability and sustainability, among many others. In that respect, EITI reinforces those dimensions of our national development strategy and plans.

“Transparency assists in creating unity and a common understanding of the foundations of our economic capacities as a country,” said Edmond Mkaratigwa, parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson for mines.

In addition, Mkaratigwa said Zimbabwe should have “EITI-compliant clauses in our laws, especially as we are reviewing some of these legal frameworks”.

Civil society says whilst calls for joining the EITI have been imminent, there has been no political will to join the initiative. Zimbabwe has been losing minerals through politically-linked elites.

The country also ranks 157th out of 180 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) with a score of 23 out of 100, which is 20 points below the international average of 43 out of 100, reflecting the dwindling levels of transparency.

 In 2020, Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare for allegedly attempting to smuggle six kilogrammes of gold worth US$400 000 to Dubai.

Rushwaya has since been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case in which she was accused of offering a US$5 000 bribe to an airport official to pass through the checkpoint with the gold.

 As also reported by The NewsHawks, politically-linked elites have been minting money through the Gold Incentives Scheme (GIS), which has largely been benefitting politically connected people, mainly President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s close ally Pedzisayi “Scott” Sakupwanya, and his Better Brands Jewellery (BBJ) company.

In 2021, the company pocked US$460 million in revenues at the expense of artisanal and small-scale miners.

 Zimbabwe has also been losing an estimated US$1.8 billion through illicit financial flows in the mining sector. Every year, the country receives vast amounts of money in grants and donations from devel[1]opment partners to support various sectors.

As of September 2021, the country owed external lenders US$13.2 billion, which could be settled by mineral resources, should they be well managed, says a report by the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG).

The EITI could improve transparency levels in the management of mineral resources, Mkaratigwa says.

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