The event was part of the African Studies Seminar at Oxford’s St Antony’s College, an elite and world-renowned institute, and Tsvangirai’s lecture was to focus on Zimbabwe’s controversial diamond mining industry.
The involvement of the military in diamond mining and the failure by the diamond companies to remit revenue to the treasury, remain among the most contentious issues in Zimbabwe, yet there was no publicity surrounding Tsvangirai’s lecture.
Ironically, it was the state run Herald newspaper that was first to inform many Zimbabweans of the event, if only to criticize Tsvangirai for speaking on the subject. But there was no press statement from his own team, who missed the opportunity to expose ZANU PF and put the global spotlight on Zimbabwe.
Tabani Moyo, advocacy officer at media watchdog MISA-Zimbabwe, agreed that Tsvangirai missed a trick, saying he should bring attention to the many issues that plague Zimbabwe whenever he gets the chance to travel.
“The issue of diamond mining and revenue is of national and of international significance and it was going to be quite an opportune moment had the former Prime Minister utilized every platform available to highlight all the key issues that remain mysterious in terms of the mining of diamonds,” Moyo told SW Radio Africa.
He added: “It is an opportune moment whenever the former PM gets a chance to attract such media attention that he articulates issues of national importance…”
Other key guests that took part in the “How Extractives can benefit Africa” Seminar included Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, the Executive Director of OXFAM International, Winnie Byanyima and Kevin Fox, Exploration Director for Rio Tinto.
It is not yet clear what Tsvangirai chose to focus on in his lecture on diamond mining in Zimbabwe, but it’s well known that the country’s police, military and intelligence chefs are heavily involved in the mining of diamonds in the rich Chiadzwa alluvial fields and that the money doesn’t benefit ordinary Zimbabweans.
Pressure group Global Witness has said diamond revenue was used to finance a ‘parallel’ government in the run up to the July 31st elections. – SW Radio AfricaPost published in: News