Zimbabwe's Marange Diamonds Banned

The reddish-coloured diamonds of Marange in Zimbabwe have now been banned from trading by the Kimberley Certification Process Scheme, but diamonds from the rest of Zimbabwe will continue trading unabated. The Zimbabwe Government says it is earning only US$20 million a month from Marange diamonds, although Gideon Gono of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank has said that sales of diamonds from the area are worth US$200 million a month.



Harare, Zimbabwe, 6 November 2009


The Kimberley Certification Process Scheme meeting in Namibia has resolved to ban Zimbabwean diamonds from the Marange area while allowing diamonds from other areas to continue trading as usual.

This was a cop-out by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

By allowing Zimbabwe to continue exporting diamonds from other areas, such as the River Ranch Diamond mine, Murowa etc, they have effectively ensured Marange diamonds will continue to be traded.

The ban in trading only Marange diamonds, according to the unanimous decision of the KP people, will be in force until a monitoring team arrives in Zimbabwe. It is not clear when this happen. Some say weeks, others say months.

After the monitoring team arrives, Zimbabwe will be able to openly trade in Marange diamonds again because, according to KP, the process of mining them will be supervised by the KP monitors.

There is no mention of the army presence and it is to be assumed that the army will continue to be present. This makes it unlikely that the monitoring team will have any impact on the operations of the army in the area, unless they come in with their own army - which, of course, will not happen.

Meantime, what will happen is this:

The well-connected people operating at Chiadzwa will have the means to have the diamonds from Marange certified as originating from areas other than Marange until the monitors arrive.

There are other diamond mines at the moment that are owned by ZANU PF grandees and they will not refuse the party and the army if the request is made to make as if the diamonds are coming from those mines and not from Marange.

It means the ban is meaningless and will have no effect on the activities currently going on at the massive Diamond Field, which the company that originally owned says has now been proved to be one of the biggest in the world, if not the biggest.

The extent of the plunder at the Marange Diamond Fields can be judged from the fact that, although Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank, has previously said it was envisaged that the diamond fields are worth US$200 per month to government, the Government of Zimbabwe says it is currently reaping only US$20 per month from the area - tenth of what is said to be taken out from there each month.

Where is the other US$180 million per month going? And how?

There are now shouts from NGOs, human rights campaigners and others that the KP people have discredited themselves but I doubt that they are listening to these shouts. The ways of international diplomacy are difficult for the ordinary man to understand, I suppose.

The best the ordinary person in Zimbabwe, especially those associated with the opposition, can do is now lump the Kimberley Certification Process group together with such bodies as SADC and African Union, dismiss them as "supporters of Mugabe" and so on. I suppose it will then mean that Mugabe has quite a few supporters internationally, and this time not just from Africa, because KP includes other countries that are not African.

AS I have said previously, the Zimbabwe disease is one of folding their hands while expecting the rest of the world to solve their problems. At some point, it will sink in that only Zimbabweans, led a leader with the wits and the mental capacity to outwit Mugabe, will eventually free the people of Zimbabwe from the clutches of a dictatorship. No one else will do it for them. Ever.


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