Mugabe adamant on diamonds

2010-07-14 07:37

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said his nation will sell its massive reserves of diamonds despite not receiving authorisation from the world’s diamond control body.

A defiant Mugabe today told lawmakers diamond sales have “huge potential” to revive the shattered economy.

He said Zimbabwe can account for one-fourth of the world’s diamond supply.

The Kimberley Process diamond certification scheme has not authorised international sales amid allegations of killings, human rights violations and corruption in the massive diamond fields discovered in eastern Zimbabwe in 2006.

Mugabe said: “No one should doubt our resolve to sell our diamonds.”

Criticism by Western nations and human rights groups deadlocked a Kimberly Process meeting in Israel last month that sought approval for the sales after a regional monitor of the control body reported Zimbabwe had met minimum international diamond mining standards.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe’s Western adversaries wanted “absurd” conditions put in place to block the diamond sales.

He said: “We have to remain rooted in the reality we are the sole guarantors of our economic emancipation.”

Critics of Mugabe say his economic policies have contributed to precipitous economic decline in a decade of political turmoil that included the often violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that disrupted the agriculture-based economy.

Mugabe acknowledged yesterday that key infrastructure – including power and water utilities, roads and transport services – had fallen into disrepair and housing programs had come to a standstill over the past decade.

Mining experts estimate that Zimbabwe’s diamond fields, sealed off by police and troops in the districts of Marange and Chiadzwa near the eastern city of Mutare, are likely the biggest deposits found in Africa since the Kimberley fields were discovered in South Africa a century ago.

The mines ministry says it already has about $1.7 billion of diamonds in storage ready to be sold.

Zimbabwe’s total international debt is estimated at around $5.5 billion.

Consignments of diamonds have been sold illegally.

Earlier this year, one shipment was detected in Dubai and police in neighbouring Mozambique reported arresting alleged diamond dealers carrying more than $1 million in cash hidden in their car near Zimbabwe’s porous eastern border.

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a top official of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change which governs in a fragile coalition with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, said on Monday many Zimbabweans were still suffering from malnutrition despite the potential for the country’s diamond wealth to restore collapsed social, health and education services and repair the country’s agricultural infrastructure.

Zimbabwe’s diamond producer status is scheduled to again come under review today at a meeting of the World Diamond Council in St Petersburg, Russia.

The mines ministry, controlled by Mugabe’s party in the coalition with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, denies wrongdoing and accuses human rights groups of “peddling falsehoods” over rights violations.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.