The Zimbabwean government intends to repossess a diamond mine that belongs to the family of former vice-president and political rival Joice Mujuru.
Limpopo Mining Resources has an 80% stake in River Ranch Limited, and the remaining 20% is owned by Khupukile Resources.
Khupukile Resources was owned by army general Solomon Mujuru, once a close ally of President Robert Mugabe who later became the centre of succession politics in Zanu-PF.
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He died in a mysterious fire at Beatrice Farm in Mashonaland East. His wife, Joice, now leads rival party Zimbabwe People First (Zim PF) after she was expelled for allegedly planning a palace coup against Mugabe.
“In the case of River Ranch, [the] government has taken a position that diamond mining is a preserve of the government,” said Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa at a mining conference last week.
This does not come as a surprise for Joice, who, at the weekend addressing a Zim PF rally in Marondera, claimed government officials would go out of their way to block multimillion-dollar projects if they did not get kick-backs.
In February, after Mugabe made startling revelations that the government could have lost $15-billion in diamond revenue to unscrupulous miners and dealers, the state moved to take over mining activities in the Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields of Manicaland.
All mines in the area were consolidated into one company, Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company.