Where is Zimbabwe’s Diamond Revenue?

Posted on Feb 12 2013 - 11:26am by admin

By John Campbell

Zimbabwe’s public account is down to its last $217. The finance minister says the country’s finances “are in paralysis.”

Zimbabwe's civil servants sing and dance during their march to the Finance Minister's office and the Parliament for their salary raise in Harare, July 24, 2012. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Zimbabwe’s civil servants sing and dance during their march to the Finance Minister’s office and the Parliament for their salary raise in Harare, July 24, 2012. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

How can that be? Zimbabwe’s diamond fields at Marange could hold between two and seven billion carats of raw diamonds, and constitutes a quarter of global diamond output, according to Bernard Chiketo in “Think Africa Press.”

As I blogged in June 2012, many think that the revenue from diamonds is bypassing the Treasury and going directly to Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu/PF party and its operatives. The four largest companies exploiting the Marange diamond mines are all closely tied to the ruling party.

In November, former South African president Thabo Mbeki charged that Zimbabwe’s diamonds were controlled by a “predatory elite.” Opposition politicians claim that Zanu/PF handed over the Marange fields to allied private companies.

This was to ensure the party continued to enjoy a stream of revenue even after it lost control of the Treasury and the National Social Security Authority to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) when Mugabe acceded to a unity government under pressure from South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

And indeed, the current minister of finance, one of the founders of the MDC, has been a vocal critic of the close association between Zanu/PF and the mining companies that hold concessions to the Marange fields, and an advocate of more transparency in diamond revenues.

The political temperature is rising in Zimbabwe. A referendum on a new constitution expected soon, to be followed by presidential elections. In this context, Zanu/PF and MDC operatives are accusing each other of lying about Marange diamonds and the state of the country’s public finances.

The opposition MDC is calling for the nationalization of the diamond mines, with joint supervision by the mining and finance ministries. The real issue, however, is the utter lack of transparency with respect to what has become Zimbabwe’s cash cow. Council on Foreign Relations blog

  • martinchareva

    dai vezanu vaiziva kuchema kurikuita vanhu nenyaya yavo yeumenemene panyaya yengoda vaichinja maitiro

  • CHISY- NGA PERRY

    MUGABE ANOZIVA KURIKUENDA MARI YEDIAMOND……ASSOCIATION YA MUGABE AND DIAMOND MONEY IS STRONG……MOST TIMES DIAMOND CO MAKE HUGE CONTRIBUTIONS DONATING TO MUGABE…ON HIS BIRTHDAY…HIRING PRIVATE JET FOR HIS TRIP TO MALYSIA…NOW FOR HIS BIRTHDAY………………………………………TO HIM DIAMONDS BELONGS TO MUGABE…
    WHY IS ARMY INVOLVED IN MINING OF DIAMONDS
    WHY IS IT , ITS ONLY ZANU PF AND MUGABE WHO CAN DICTATE WHO IS SUPPOSE TO BE INVOLVED IN DIAMOND MINING
    THE DISCOVERY OF DIAMONDS HAVE NEVER HELPED ZIMBABWE BUT THE USUAL CROOKS OF ZANU PF ELITE
    SADLY THEY ARE USING DIAMONDS TO PERSUE THEIR POLITICAL INTEREST AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE

    MUGABE KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON WITH DIAMONDS