Botswana’s Defence Forces Commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Carter Masire has commended Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy urging the country to ignore propaganda on programmes that benefit and empower people.
Lt Gen Masire was speaking after a tour of Arda Transau Farm in Odzi where 437 families were relocated from Chirashika in Chiadzwa, Marange.
“This is wonderful work here. It’s beautiful . . . all this White criticism on Zimbabwe’s diamonds being blood diamonds it’s all propaganda.
“This shows the use of natural resources for the people. People have houses that they never dreamt of owning in their whole life,” Lt Gen Masire said.
Newly elected Kimberly Process Certification Scheme chairperson Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic this week said the Marange diamonds cannot be classified as blood gems.
Ambassador Milovanovic said Cote d’Ivoire whose government was recently overthrown with French backing was the only country dealing in conflict diamonds.
Lt Gen Masire had earlier toured Anjin Investments, one of Zimbabwe’s diamond mining firms in Chiadzwa.
“I see so much potential and Zimbabwe is destined for a great future,” he said.
Lt Gen Masire and his delegation comprising Brigadier Therego Seretse Phatswane, Colonel Morokotsi Kenneth Kethebogile and Major Keoogile Milton Gaaitsege met some of the beneficiaries of the housing scheme.
Lt Gen Masire also visited the primary and secondary school, clinic and a modern water purification plant at Arda Transau.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Air Force of Zimbabwe director general logistics Air Commodore Innocent Chiganze, who also accompanied Lt Gen Masire, urged them to cherish the strong ties between Zimbabwe and Botswana.
“Botswana assisted us during the liberation struggle and we must appreciate that relationship.
“Many Tswanas were killed by the Rhodesian forces so we must cherish and respect and show gratitude to Botswana,” Air Commodore Chiganze said.
He said the two countries will continue to share vital information in addressing challenges.
The beneficiaries of the housing scheme expressed their gratitude towards Government and Anjin Investment for building them decent homes.
“I am very happy I had never dreamt of owning a house in my life. I want to thank Government and Anjin for this,” Mr Solomon Mhlanga Ndamera said.
He urged other villagers still in Chiadzwa to comply, saying diamonds mined would benefit not only the community but also Zimbabwe at large.
Another beneficiary, Amai Florence Femere said she was happy to have a house with proper sanitation.
“We are grateful and we want people to know that we have benefited from our natural resources,” Amai Femere said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Lt Gen Masire visited the Anjin diamond mine.
Anjin human resources manager Mrs Lindiwe Ngwenya led the tour and outlined how the Look East policy was benefiting Zimbabwe.
She said Anjin has invested close to US$310 million in setting up opencast mining operations in Marange with at least seven processing plants.
Mrs Ngwenya also took the delegates through the security facilities installed at the mine such as advanced body X-ray scanners, CCTV, the 24-hour observation towers to show the strict adherence of the firm to the Kimberly Process requirements.
Lt Gen Masire is expected to conclude his visit by paying a courtesy call on Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa before meeting President Mugabe tomorrow.