Zimbabwe: Civic groups refuse diamond money offer

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Civic activists say they will not accept the Zimbabwe mining minister's offer of funds because it would hamper their efforts to make government accountable for its diamond revenues.

Farai Maguwu, director of a new minerals watchdog, Center for Natural Resources Governance, said Friday that Mines Minister Obert Mpofu's offer of 1 percent of all diamond sales to civic groups would "compromise our neutrality." He said the non-governmental organizations need their independence to "criticize and pressure" the state to account for its diamond mining activities.

Mpofu earlier said that President Robert Mugabe's government wants to "extend an olive branch" to civic groups that are interested in diamond mining in Marange.

Mpofu has amassed a personal fortune from misuse of the diamond sales, according to a recent report by Partnership Africa Canada.

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