Diamonds widen the gap; Bishop warns

A prominent South African clergyman has lamented the widening gap between rich and poor people in Zimbabwe since the discovery of diamonds in Manicaland province.

“The disparity between the rich elite and the poor majority in Zimbabwe today is unacceptable,” said Central Johannesburg Methodist Bishop, Paul Verryn, at a workshop recently.

Such disparities and continued human rights abuses could have dire consequences if unbridled, he added.

“Zimbabweans are a fractured and broken community because of years of torture, annihilation and other human rights violations committed by the State. History has shown that no matter how much power a person yields, if the people they preside over are fractured and heartbroken, the situation will implode,” said Verryn.

There are strong suspicions that the army and other security organs are looting the diamonds discovered in 2005 for self-enrichment and to support the operations of Zanu (PF).

Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, has repeatedly clashed with Obert Mpofu, the Mines Minister, over the lack of transparency of diamond revenues. All the mines licensed to operate in Chiadzwa have links with Zanu (PF) and the military.

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