Partnership Africa Canada, a member of the Kimberly Process Initiative against Blood Diamonds, has reported that the diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe have only benefited a well connected elite of ZANU-PF party leaders and the Zimbabwe military, who have dominated the mining concessions.
US$2 Billion Stolen
Although the state mining firm claims that the gems were sold "transparently", and the Kimberly Process has certified the Marange gems, human rights groups and the diamond watchdog, Partnership Africa Canada, have documented abuses at the mines and estimate the theft of the blood diamonds of Zimbabwe at US$2 billion, since 2008. The proceeds of this looting of the resources that should be helping Zimbabweans, are going into the pockets of ZANU-PF leaders.
The Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe, Tendai Biti, has accused the Marange mines of not remitting diamond proceeds to the National Treasury. Finance Minister Biti had projected US$600 million from the Marange mines for his 2012 National Budget. None of which has been received.
Even former South African president Thabo Mbeki, normally a supporter of the ZANU-PF government, has called on Zimbabwe to bring more transparency to its diamond mining. "Diamond production must not be governed by a predatory elite which is in collusion with mining companies for its own benefit. As elections loom in Zimbabwe next year, the country must prove that it is not a rouge state." was the statement Thabo Mbeki gave at a conference reported on by Business Day.
The Marange area, 400km South East of Harare, close to Mutare, in the Eastern Highlands, was a scene of terrible atrocities when 20,000 small scale miners were forcibly removed by soldiers and police. Human rights groups claimed that hundreds were killed during this ethnic cleansing, which included attacks by helicopter gunships. The Kimberly Process was founded almost a decade ago with a mandate to stop conflict, or blood diamonds, being used to finance rebel campaigns against UN recognised governments.
The Kimberly Process
This group, comprising governments, diamond miners and human rights groups has 50 members representing 76 countries, with the European Union counting as one participant. The problem is that the Kimberly process does not recognise the Zimbabwe diamonds as blood diamonds and certifies its gems, claiming that Mugabe's dictatorship is a recognised government in the UN.
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil… who equip the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent." Isaiah 5:20-23
Source: Zimbabwe Hope (www.zimbabwehope.org)
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa