"Banning of Zimbabwe "Blood Diamonds" Nonsense" - Says Kimberley Process Official

Zimbabwe's diamonds are safe, for now, with the Certification team currently in the country saying those calling for a ban of the diamonds from Zimbabwe are talking nonsense and "we will not entertain them." It means Grace, Gono and their runners can continue smuggling loose diamonds in handbags from Zimbabwe to be polished and sold off in China. Mugabe's government is might pleased with this and the state media will be crowing about it tomorrow.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 19 August 2009

Tomorrow the state media will be crowing louder than usual with regards to the proposed banning of diamonds from Zimbabwe by a Kimberley Process Team that was in the country more than a month ago.

None other than the Chairman of the Kimberley Certification Process Scheme, Benhard Esau, is leading a team currently visiting Zimbabwe and he held a press conference here in Harare today.

During the press conference, he said:

"There are members of the Kimberley Process trying to convince other members to suspend Zimbabwe but we will not entertain such things."

Which makes the whole process pretty much pointless, doesn't it?

Even as loose diamonds are being shipped out to be polished in China, even as the proceeds continue to be used to fund a single political party as it buys loyalty and patronage, the chairman says the calls are nonsense and will not be entertained?

He says there was a teleconference on 4 August with Zimbabwean authorities about the possibility of Zimbabwe voluntarily suspending itself from the world market for diamonds but "there was no consensus".

Of course not.

The people profiting from this would voluntarily suspend themselves? And ensure that none of their diamonds ever get into the legitimate world market?

Surely they were joking?

Obert Mpofu, the ZANU PF minister in charge of mining mouthed platitudes at the press conference, assuring the visiting Diamond team (they are in the country until Saturday):

"We will use your recommendations to fully comply with your proposals and recommendations? We have set up a taskforce to supervise the implementation."

What, he has not heard what the army said: "No moving from the diamonds fields until we are good and ready and the Kimberley process can go and hang", was the message basically, when the Team that was here called for the army to vacate the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

The team currently in the country will tour all of Zimbabwe's diamond areas, including such places as River Ranch and the vast diamond fields at Chiadzwa itself.

Meantime, top armed forces and government officials continue to traverse the world with signs hanging around their necks reading: "Loose Diamonds For Sale".

The whole thing is a mess and has been politicised.

If there was political will to end the illicit trade in loose diamonds which is bedevilling the country, this could be ended in the twinkling of an eye.


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