• 31 July 2009: Diamond Body Recommends Banning Zimbabwe Diamonds

    Chiyadzwa Diamond Fields, where small-scale miners (Makorokoza) made fortunes in the confusion of 2006/7 and into last year. There was a brutal clampdown at the Fields and it is sad some 80 or so people died at the hands of soldiers, the story is denied by both the MDC and ZANU PF since they got into government together. The Kimberley Process Team which was here earlier this month, has recommended a ban on Diamonds from Zimbabwe for at least six months


    So.

    Despite the Herald shrilling propaganda from their pages during the recent visit of the Kimberley Process Team to Zimbabwe, that very team has now announced that it is recommending a ban on Zimbabwe trading in diamonds through the process for "at least six months".

    It is a big deal because the Process is literally the only legitimate way in which diamonds can be sold on the world market. It was set up to certify diamonds as free of blood ( diamonds funded and fuelled the horrific conflicts of Sierra Leone, DRC and Liberia, amongst other countries. Charles Taylor today sits at the Hague because of some of these conflicts and the horrors that they gave birth to).

    If you cn not sell your diamonds through the Process, you will be oblidged to deal with shady characters with raincoats, in the alleyways of the international diamond trade.

    It also means you do not get proper value for your under-the-counter diamonds and can lose billlions in the process.

    The KP Team make it clear that their recommended ban should be indefinite, saying: "..but until such time as a KP team determines that minimum standards have been met.

    You will recall that while they were here, the KP Team recommended the "demilitarisation" of the Chiyadzwa Diamond Fields.

    They got their response through a defiant and strident statement from the Defence Forces, whose spokesman was eagerly and gleefully quoted by the State media. I remember seeing it given prominence on ZTV Newshour.

    Of course, this only made the Team feel infuriated. Their advice was being ignored and even rejected out of hand. They have responded by recommending a ban.

    How does this square with the Carnival coverage their visit got from the State Media. We were told by the Herald that the team was "pleased" with Zimbabwe. The next day we were fed the line that the KP Team "hails Government".

    Hail them they did, indeed. And we can all see that now.

    It is reported that only last week, Finance Minister Tendai Biti "begged" the KP Team to give Zimbabwe time to implement the required measures. Perhaps it is a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

    If Biti had bothered to talk to the Defence Forces, then he would have been told not to bother, because they intended scuppering the whole thing with a spectacular press statement.

    The proper mining of diamonds at Chiyadzwa is estimated by government itself to be able to bring in up to US$600 million per month. Which would be just over seven billion US Dollars in a year, enough to fund the reconstruction of Zimbabwe, estimated by Biti to need US$8 billion.

    None of this is ever likely to make any difference to the way you or I live. Wantonly, the Inclusive Government is simply shooting itself in the foot.

    Problem is, it's our foot too.

    But when we protest, we are told to shut up. We should just trust the shooter to do what he is doing because he knows what's good for us!!


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