Fight for civil society representation in Kimberley Process continues

Zimbabwe’s civil society continues to be divided over who should represent them in the Kimberley Process local Focal Point. The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (NANGO) programmes director Machinda  Marongwe today said Harare lawyer Shamiso Mtisi had been confirmed by the KP Plenary in Jerusalem at the beginning of this month as the coordinator of the Local Focal Point (LFP). Mtisi is a representative of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association.

Another organisation calling itself the Civil Society Coalition, however, insists that Mtisi was imposed on the KP by non-governmental organisations that are fighting against Zimbabwe’s admission to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme so that it can freely sell its diamonds from Marange. The organisation had appointed Goodson Nguni.

In a statement Marongwe said: “As you may be aware, the matter of the Kimberly Process Local Focal Point was finally resolved at the Israel plenary with the confirmation by the KPSC of Mr. Shamiso Mtisi, a lawyer by profession and a representative of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) in the Zimbabwe Civil Society KP LFP technical committee, as the coordinator of the LFP.”
He said earlier NANGO had carried out extensive consultations with its members and stakeholders had backed the nomination of the Centre of Research and Development Director Farai Maguwu as the coordinator. However Maguwu stepped down as the coordinator before the KP plenary in Israel citing personal and institutional reasons. It had therefore been agreed to nominate Mtisi to replace him.

Maguwu was facing criminal charges for leaking secret documents to KP Monitor to Zimbabwe Abbey Chikane. The charges were dropped just 10 days before the KP plenary but before plea.

When charges are dropped before plea, they continue to hang over the accused. The State can raise them whenever it wishes and this could have been a way of silencing Maguwu or making him toe the line.

The plenary failed to agree on Zimbabwe’s admission to the KPCS though the review team and the monitor had said its mines in Marange are KP complaint.

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