On 1 March 2019, Anjin Investments – a joint venture between Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group (AFFEC) and Matt Bronze, a subsidiary of Zimbabwe Defense Industries which is wholly owned by the Zimbabwe National Army returned to resume operations at their concession in Marange. Anjin recruited scores of employees at Chibuwe village, with the assistance of local councilors who were asked to provide names for the company to select. Anjin was evicted from Marange by former President Robert Mugabe in February 2016 after he accused them of rampant looting of diamonds. Former Finance Minister during the Inclusive government, Tendai Biti accused Anjin Investments of not remitting anything to the treasury during his tenure. In 2018 President Emmerson Mnangagwa named Anjin as one of the companies that illegally externalized cash from Zimbabwe. When it left Marange, Anjin dismissed hundreds of its workers without paying their outstanding salaries and severance packages. The company was accused by its employees of racism and abuse of black workers.
However, it is the secret return of Anjin to Marange on 1 March that has raised more questions than answers. CNRG first visited the Provincial Mining Director for Manicaland, Omen Dube who expressed ignorance on the return of Anjin. He said he was hearing it for the first time. The organization then sought clarification from the office of Chief Executive Officer for Mutare Rural District Council but the deputy CEO said the Council had not received any official communication from Government on the return of Anjin. The CEO, a Mr Chinake was not immediately available to comment. Traditional leaders in Marange were also not consulted regarding the return of Anjin to their area. Traditional leaders in Marange are also not pleased with Anjin’s history of looting and gross human rights violations and they feel the company’s return is an insult to the community.
Efforts to get clarification from the District Administrator’s office also proved futile. Assistant District Administrators for Mutare, a Mrs. Madziire her office was not aware that Anjin was back in Marange. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Mr Onesmo Mazai Moyo also professed ignorance on the matter saying as far as he was concerned Anjin does not have a permit to be in Marange. Moyo however, said Anjin is one of the companies they are in discussions with but no decision had been made on their return. The permanent secretary later asked for questions in writing and it’s been two weeks since questions were sent to the ministry but has not responded despite numerous phone calls to remind him.
Lack of transparency regarding the return of Anjin therefore raises these questions: Who authorized them to mine in Marange? Why were formal government institutions overlooked? Some senior government officials in Manicaland who requested anonymity said the opaque
licensing of companies operating in Manicaland by powerful politicians in Harare and the exclusion of stakeholders in Manicaland is the main reason why the province is not benefitting from its diamonds.
The discovery of diamonds in Marange in 2006 has not benefitted Manicaland in any way. All the roads in Marange are in an advanced state of disrepair. Despite having the highest number of secondary schools in Zimbabwe due to the collective efforts of churches, rural and urban councils and central government, Manicaland does not have a fully functioning State University due to poor funding. If properly accounted for, diamonds from Marange are able to finance a world class State University in Manicaland. On the 15th of March, parts of Manicaland mainly Chimanimani and Chipinge were hit by cyclone Idai and the official number of the deceased stands at 139 (March 21) and hundreds more are still to be accounted. For a province endowed with diamonds and other natural resources preventative measures should have been put in place. Rescue operations are stagnant due to lack of financial resources yet the province is the richest in the country in terms of resources. More than 90 percent of Marange diamond revenues are diverted from treasury. The shock return of Anjin to Marange signals the continuation of looting of Marange diamonds under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new dispensation. Anjin joins ZCDC, which has also been plundering Marange and committing horrific human rights abuses without any tangible benefits to the community.
To the Government of Zimbabwe
Government should immediately withdraw Anjin Investments from Marange and investigate how Anjin ended up in Marange with following due processes.
In future, the Government should engage all stakeholders in deliberations with prospective investors for Marange diamonds. Any process that begins secretively and corruptly will not benefit the people of Zimbabwe, more importantly the people of Marange to whom diamonds have brought nothing but restriction to their basic freedoms, violence and poverty
To the Government of China
China must ensure that its companies in Zimbabwe, Anjin in particular, comply with the laws of Zimbabwe and get social licenses from the communities they seek to operate in. It is also important for China to ensure its companies are transparent and accountable to the local populations and the government of Zimbabwe.
To the Kimberley Process
The secretive – military nature of diamond mining operations in Marange are a huge dent on the Kimberley Process. The KP should urgently attend to the chaos in Marange, especially the lack of transparency in how mining companies are awarded mining contracts. Since 2016 Parliament of Zimbabwe has repeatedly stated that Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) is operating illegally in Marange and yet it’s diamonds are considered KP compliant. The illegal and secretive return of Anjin adds to the chaos in Marange