Tanzanite, Ashanti gold, et al: Volumes of lessons for us today


ASHANTI Gold in Ghana offers Africa the best lessons on how to deal with our so-called development partners in mining, particularly those looking for gemstones and rare metals such as diamonds and gold.

One of these lessons was an upfront agreement between the government of Ghana and Ashanti Gold, a multinational conglomerate, on how the foreign investors would work with the real owners of the mineral wealth; and the final result wasn’t the penury we in Tanzania are subjected to anytime we attempt to go into partnership with foreign investors.

Apart from an assured sharing of revenue to the government, the mine workers were also well treated – good housing, medical and other social services for the workers and family. Ashanti Gold, Ghana, was the way to go, well-illustrated by open and tangible benefits.

Why we in Tanzania are sometimes reduced to begging for the obvious is anybody’s guess; all we can say is that we’ve got a long distance ahead of us when it comes to negotiating with global multinationals; in many ways, we’re no different from tourists shopping for souvenirs in a foreign country – even though such foreign territory happens to be our own beloved Tanzania.

Thats why we take very seriously – and heartily commend – the move by the Head of State, John Pombe Magufuli, to order the Tanzania mine works at Mirerani cordoned off.

As you read this, the Police Force has with immediate effect positioned its officers in and around Mirerani mines to control activities taking place and restrain any acts of theft of tanzanite gemstones that can only be found around that northern Tanzanian area.

Manyara Regional Police Commander Francis Massawe is on record to have told the ‘Daily News’ that the police took action just as President John Magufuli gave orders to ensure the vital gemstones are not stolen, as it has proved to be the case in the past.

RPC Massawe said they had since positioned themselves well, and that they could now observe meticulously all activities taking place within the mines from Block A to D in terms of mining as well as storage of the tanzanite gems.

Needless to say, we couldn’t ask for more. For just too long, foreigners, with convenient support from local authorities, have literally ‘sold us down the river’ as the American vernacular says.

The fact that police have taken effective control over the running of the Mirerani mining functions isn’t very good news in itself – because it means we weren’t doing anything to protect that mineral wealth before the president spoke his mind.

Yes, and this is a poignant question: For how should we subject this top civil servant to the jobs for which some of us are already being paid to do? Good question, you bet?

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