BRUSSELS controversy: NGO says not intimidated by Musarara threats

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By Staff Reporter

A LOCAL mineral and human rights advocacy organisation has said it is not intimidated by threats of legal action as the controversy over Zimbabwe’s delegation to a recent Kimberly Process (KP) meeting in Belgium continues.

Harare businessman and Resources Exploitation Watch Trust (REWT) chairman Tafadzwa Musarara has threatened to sue Farai Maguwu, director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG).

This was after Maguwo reportedly claimed that Musarara travelled to Brussels as part of the Zimbabwean government’s delegation.

Posting on his Facebook page, Maguwu wrote; “In Brussels there is a conference on Diamonds.

“Zimbabwe, which is earning less than $300 million annually from diamonds sent a delegation of 30-plus. UAE earn more than $6.5 billion from the diamond trade annually, they flew 3 and added 2 from their embassy in Brussels.

“Israel also flew in three. One of the delegates representing Zimbabwe at this diamond conference is Tafadzwa Musarara President of the Grain Millers Association.”

Musarara threatened to sue the CNRG director, saying he did not attend the meeting as part of the government delegation or as chair of the Grain Millers Association.

“The social media posts by Farai Magawu of Centre for Natural Resource Governance, that Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara represented the milling industry at the Brussels Plenary are simply pre-school mischief and bent to project the image of impropriety,” said Musarara’s lawyer Calvin Sengwe.

“Since 2009, REWT representatives have been attending the Kimberly Process bi-annuals meetings accredited as Observers.

“REWT Chairman of the board Trustees, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, and other REWT officials have participated in these Kimberly Process meetings including the recently held 2018 Brussels Plenary. A google search will attest to that.”

A defiant Maguwu however, said threats and intimidation were nothing new.

“While it is within Mr Tafadzwa Musarara’s constitutional rights to seek recourse whenever he feels violated, as CNRG we would like inform him that the fact that he has been attending KP meetings since 2009 does not make him an observer,” said CNRG spokesperson Simiso Mlevu.

“In fact, it is not true that he has been attending the Kimberly Process since 2009. He has been attending since 2011. 

“A mere check on the KP website will prove that there are only four observer groups; and these are World Diamond Council, African Diamond Producers Association, Diamond Development Initiative and the Civil Society Coalition which CNRG is part of.”

Mlevu added; “These observer groups are accredited as per who they represent, and it is telling that Mr Musarara’s accreditation tag read Zimbabwe.

“I suppose only him can satisfactorily explain that but as CNRG we are aware that he was registered by the government focal person.”