Grave site reveals sad tale of Chiadzwa violence

The recent decision by the diamond watchdog the Kimberley Process, to allow the sale of diamonds from Zimbabwe's controversial Chiadzwa mines angered some observers and experts, who criticized the KP for ignoring evidence of ongoing abuses in the area.

The abuses in Chiadzwa have been well documented. But a picture published by the Daily News on Friday, showing the plaque at the grave of a victim of Chiadzwa's violence, should serve as a reminder to the KP as to why so-called "blood diamonds" should not be sold.

The Daily News photo shows the grave of Maxwell Mabota, an innocent villager who became the victim of political greed. The plaque says "Born in Mutare 25/07/75." Beneath that it says "Beaten in Chiadzwa 24/12/08", placing Maxwell in Chiadzwa when military troops sealed off the area where the diamonds had been discovered.

Reports say small scale miners were shot in the back from helicopter gunships and no one knows how many were killed. There are estimates that more than 200 people died and thousands were injured.

Maxwell had injuries that were serious enough to require extensive medical attention, not available in Zimbabwe. The plaque says "Treated in Mutare to 06/01/09" and "Transferred to South Africa 07/01/09".

But the plaque says Maxwell died in South Africa 08/01/09, so he didn't survive long and was buried in Mutare on 17/01/09.

Luke Zunga from Global Zimbabwe Forum said when politicians debate issues they forget there are human beings struggling to get through the day and suffering.

"They forget the people who were removed from Chiadzwa, and are moving around without a plan, no job, and no future. Some go into forced labour and become statistics," Zunga explained. The activist said he is working in South Africa to find solutions for Zimbabweans who wound up there.

The Daily News photo is a sad reminder of the suffering that Zimbabweans are being subjected to at the hands of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. Institutions like the Kimberley Process, as well as the United Nations, African Union and SADC, need to keep in mind that their actions affect ordinary people who have a name, a face and dreams for a better life. – SW Radio Africa

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