Zimbabwe’s diamonds are also blood diamonds-(15-02-07)




"Diamonds are forever" it is often said. "But lives are not.
We must spare people the ordeal of war, mutilations and death for the sake of conflict diamonds."
BY A CORRESPONDENT
A topical issue surrounds

the movie Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio, one which has brought back onto the international stage the topic of blood diamonds and the misery they mean to millions of people with corrupt governments and ruling elites perpetuating their evil regimes through such God-given treasures at the expense of their countries and peoples.
Zimbabwe’s illegal regime is the latest to join this ruling elite, adding diamonds to its bounty from the rape of the country which continues unabated to the detriment of generations of Zimbabweans.
While Zimbabwe cannot be considered a conflict zone, those of us Zimbabweans in exile, having lost everything and now scattered throughout the world, do not see any difference, as millions of Zimbabweans are living in abject poverty and dying from HIV/AIDS due to non-availability of health care and a corrupt. illegal government. Zimbabwe’s Human Rights record is appalling.
So how does a regime like Mugabe’s stay in power and reward its ruling elite? Simple, by theft of the nation’s assets. As long as they can get hold of foreign currency, the ruling elite will continue to prop up Mugabe and keep him in power at all cost.
The theft of the farms was the first round in the rape of the country and was then followed by successful businesses that the government “bought into” using the cloak of buying or coercing shares from the rightful owners. Philip Chiyangwa’s rise to power and fame came on the heels of expropriating businesses with Zanu (PF)’s blessing and support. Next came Forex exchange bureaux (mainly controlled by Zanu (PF) apologists) exploiting the huge forex remittances to Zimbabwe from the three million plus Zimbabweans in exile, who were often unaware that their £300 towards their families upkeep was going straight into the pockets of Zanu (PF) cronies!
Then the mines were in the “sights” of the Mugabe rapists. And then came the diamond strike in Marange. Marange’s diamond rush was well under way before it came to the attention of the Mugabe regime. Lower government officials had already fed from the trough before the big wigs got wind of the pickings to be had! Thousands of Zimbabweans using their bare hands had been removing the alluvial diamonds and selling onto runners who had connections in Harare, Mozambique and South Africa who would pay good money for uncut rough diamonds. Even a Belgian national was later arrested for trading in uncut diamonds!
Countless articles on the internet document these facts.
” Teachers abandoned classrooms to search for diamonds; fortune seekers invaded Marange from all over the country; and some villagers became millionaires overnight finding an alternative to Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis that has gripped the country since 2000 when the government decided to take over commercial farms owned by white people and distribute them to landless blacks”.
An official for ACR, Dirk Benade, was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying: “Between 6,000 and 15,000 people moved one million tonnes of earth by hand in a 1.4 sq mile area in a month. World-class machinery couldn’t have moved what they did. There were no toilet facilities, people were buying water with diamonds and sleeping in the holes, which they also used as latrines. The air was thick with flies.”- www.mineweb.com
Once the Mugabe illegal regime realised the value of the diamond strike and some having already benefited from trade in the spoils, Mugabe moved quickly to expropriate the mine for the “people of Zimbabwe” which in Zimbabwe speak means himself and his cronies. Ominous headlines followed, such as Zimbabwe: Reporters Arrested on Hunt for Diamond Story – “Three reporters were charged with violating a media law, which requires accreditation by the government before media reports can be filed from the country. State-run newspaper The Herald identified reporters as South Africa-based television producer Peter Moyo; cameraman William Gumbo, and an assistant named only as Trymore”. – www.Diamonds.net
While the illegal expropriation of the Marange diamond concession came as no surprise to Zimbabweans, the affect on the country and its long-term prospects of recovery have been set back by years. This diamond strike could be the means for the illegal regime to continue its stranglehold on Zimbabwe for many more years. Zimbabweans have to shout to be heard and this is where movies like Blood Diamond are a “hook” we should use to highlight the plight of our country in its fight for media coverage internationally.
Whether Zimbabweans not tainted by the regime will be able to control the export of these “blood diamonds” internationally is down to the countries that surround us like Mozambique and South Africa – looking at their corrupt governments it will be an uphill struggle.

Post published in: Opinions

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