Parliamentary diamond team welcome

07Jul 2017
Editor
The Guardian
Parliamentary diamond team welcome

NATIONAL Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai has unveiled a new committee formed by initiative of members of the House to investigate the way the diamond mining and foreign selling business is conducted,........

and presumably the House was on its way to forming a tanzanite probe committee for a similar purpose.  

These initiatives take for model the two presidential committees whose reports have shaken the gold mining sub-sector, and it is plausible similar effect is anticipated.

While not wishing to raise any objection as to such anticipation a priorit, it is evident that there is need for some breathing space, as matters arising from the gold concentrate reports and intense measures taken to rectify the situation are still fresh on the scene. We may need the dust to settle somewhat before we get our teeth into something similar, even assuming that there are tangible grounds to presume that such effect is possible. There may be scientific reasons to discount this.

For instance there is the whole issue of types of rocks involved in gold bearing rock and rare stones, where a plausible hypothesis is that metals tend to form in layers of rocks but having different levels of solidification of metals. Rare stones might have a different mechanism of occurrence, in which case no ‘diamond concentrate’ or ‘tanzanite concentrate’ issues similarly occur. Still there may be areas of correction as concentrates wasn’t the only issue in the past saga.

At the same time, there is a world of difference between what may be described as curiosity on the part of Members of Parliament, or a wish to satisfy a parliamentary committee that probity is being observed, or a sub sector needs to be rectified to reflect such need. That is one thing, and a presidential probe committee is another, as this is an area where the President of the United Republic has satisfied himself that anomalies ought to be rectified, and sends a team to show in detail what is involved, why and how. So far such initiative hasn’t come up at top levels of state.

In that case the parliamentary committees need to retain their feet on the group, and avoid as far as possible an impression that the sectors are kindred in how they are run, or the issues are parallel or anything of the sort. It is possible that a certain amount of soul searching may have been registered at the legislative level on diamond or tanzanite trade in the past to warrant an effort to make a formal investigation. But so far this is curiosity, not a desperate national need.

It will be helpful if MPs place themselves in a learning and fact finding mood when they take up their tasks as directed by the Speaker, which arguably could scarcely be said of the committees chaired by Prof. Abdulrahman Mruma and Prof. Nehemiah Osoro. While there was prima facie evidence to start with - that something is worrisome about gold mining as a whole and the trade or export of concentrate in particular - nothing of the sort has been preliminarily established in regard to diamond or tanzanite mining or trading. 

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