Mugabe wrecks Kimberly Process

bob_mugabeHARARE - President Robert Mugabe's divisive influence on the world stage has
claimed another victim: the Kimberly Process Diamond Certification
Scheme (KP).

According to The Diplomatic Courier, which monitors diplomatic

relations worldwide, the question of Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond

production in the disputed Marange fields in the eastern Manicaland

province had ‘stalled’ the KP.

The organisation warned that a major row was now certain as Zimbabwe

prepares to take over the KP chairmanship from the Democratic Republic

of Congo, whose recent unilateral authorisation of Marange diamond

sales plunged the organisation into turmoil.

South Africa, a major producer, boycotted a recent KP working group

meeting in Dubai in solidarity with Zimbabwe. The meeting had been

called by the European Union.

Now, according to the Courier, another bruising fight is looming as

the United States will almost certainly oppose Zimbabwe’s ascension.

“There remains much uncertainty as to whether the United States will

allow Zimbabwe to take up the next chair of the KPCS,” the Courier’s

contributing editor, Michelle Acuto commented last week in a report

entitled Diamonds:Still a bloody affair.

“In short, the Process internal cracks are looming large on its

future, while Zimbabwean undocumented diamonds continue to trickle

into the global market via third parties such as Mozambique. The

titles from two recent Global Witness reports sum up this progressive

derailing, calling on the return of the blood diamond via Zimbabwe,

and pointing at the lessons unlearned on the international trade in

minerals.”

The report said the recent events had shown that the KP’s internal

mechanisms “continue to be loose, easily circumvented, and at times

contrasting, while internal squabbles in the Kimberly scheme and

continuing cross-border smuggling maintains a substantial flow of

conflict roughs in the global market. The diamond trade remains, at

the end of the day, a bloody affair with little attention on the world

stage.”

Mugabe has repeatedly blackmailed African countries that sought to

oppose him in international bodies such as KP, branding them puppets

of the West. After the KP’s current DRC chair Mathieu Yamba allowed

Zimbabwe to sell its ‘blood diamonds’, obtained amid much violence in

which hiundreds of Marange residents and illegal miners were murdered

in horrific army airstrikes, the European Union called for an

emergency session of the KP in Dubai. However, SA was armtwisted by

Harare and forced to pull out of the meeting, stating that it would be

compelled to enforce decisions made in its absence.

This played into the hands of Zimbabwe, which immediately offloaded

hundreds of millions dollars from it’s stockpile, mined in

questionable circumstances by the Chinese firm Anjin, which was

granted a licence last year amid a veil of secrecy.

However, the country’s credibility problems are far from over. Mines

minister Obert Mpofu acknowledged as much last week when he took the

country’s military chiefs, including defence minister Emmerson

Mnangagwa and defence forces commander Constantine Chiwenga on a tour

the Anjin facility at Marange. The presence of the army in Marange is

one of the contentious issues dogging the KP amid reports that

soldiers are looting and smuggling diamonds through neighbouring

Mozambique.

Mugabe has used his vast knowledge of international relations to

divide most organisations in which Zimbabwe is a member. He pulled

Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth after ordering the invasion of

white-owned farms, caused major divisions among world powers in the

United Nations Security Council when he rigged the 2008 elections,

threw the African Union and SADC into unending conflicts and has now

effectively caused major rifts in the KP.

Organisations such as the Diamond Development Initiative and

Responsible Jewelry Council are calling for implementation of a system

known as ‘Forevermark’, where every individual gemstone mined will

bear a special mark of origin.

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