Blooding Gems Part of Sanctions War
By Garikai Chengu
ZIMBABWE’S diamond field in Chiadzwa is home to the largest known concentration of diamonds in the world, which are capable of transforming Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes.
Consequently, the British-led concerted propaganda campaign, seeking to have Zimbabwe expelled from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, must be seen as a crucial component of ruinous economic sanctions, pursuant to illegal regime change.
Economic sanctions were designed to severely shrink government coffers; however, diamonds in Chiadzwa alone have the potential to swell Government revenue to levels that would neutralise the sanctions.
Therefore, it is no wonder Britain has embarked on a propaganda campaign to discredit Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry.
The best way to combat this malicious propaganda campaign is to propagate the truth. In order to do so it is crucial to appreciate the extent to which the diamonds could benefit the nation. One must also shine a spotlight, clear and bright, on British propaganda and machinations, both public and private.
It is estimated that the diamonds in Chiadzwa could earn Zimbabwe up to US$200 million per month, becoming the largest foreign currency earner. Currently, the Government is struggling to deliver services on a meagre budget of US$100 million per month. Set alongside this, tax revenues from Chiadzwa have the potential to transform the nation’s fortunes.
Several aspects of the Zimbabwean economy, that continue to be decimated by illegal economic sanctions, could be revitalised by the Government with the revenue from Chiadzwa:
Firstly, the Government could provide some financing to state-owned companies, which are currently toiling under sanctions. This would be immensely beneficial to the nation because these sanctioned companies provide basic goods and services to ordinary Zimbabweans, employment for hundreds of thousands of people, financing for the crucial farming, mining, manufacturing and retail sectors and provide the State with millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Secondly, the executive could begin to replenish greatly depleted chalk in schools, medicine in clinics and asphalt on roads — the very infrastructure that sanctions seek to destroy.
Thirdly, the Government could provide Zesa and under-capitalised private banks with financial assistance, which can in-turn provide relief for exporting manufacturers, farmers and miners suffering from electricity shortages and lack of access to loans.
Finally, the boost in revenue would allow Government to mobilise adequate resources to pay civil servants dignified wages, commensurate with their invaluable contribution to society.
The fear that revenue from Chiadzwa can undo a great deal of the damage wrought by sanctions has fuelled attempts to stop Zimbabwe from benefiting from its diamonds, at all costs.
For, to actively impose sanctions with one hand, and yet passively allow Zimbabwe to prosper from its diamonds with the other, is unthinkable for Britain because it would perpetuate the status quo: shattered dreams of regime change and ongoing land democratisation.
On the face of it, Britain is genuinely concerned with the human rights of miners in Chiadzwa; however, the truth of the matter is that Britain’s concern lies in the economic boost that the diamonds can give a government, which it is actively seeking to topple through economic sabotage.
In order to wage an unjust economic war on a nation, the aggressor must have propaganda at the top of its agenda. As part of its arsenal, Britain has devised a weapon that has both overt and covert capabilities.
The public British-led propaganda strategy consists of firstly, concocting stories of ‘human rights’ abuses and labelling the diamonds in Chiadzwa ‘blood diamonds” — stones mined amid violence, sold to fund conflict, or both. A notion the KPCS has rejected.
Secondly, repeating these spurious claims ad nauseam, through various media outlets, enough times so that the claims may begin to be taken as the truth. The overwhelming control the West has over mainstream international media outlets greatly facilitates this approach.
Thirdly, merely discrediting Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry and seeking to have it expelled from the KP is not enough for Britain.
Zimbabwe’s former coloniser also disrupts the operations of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, by prohibiting it from accessing loans from multilateral institutions and doing business with EU or US banks and companies.
The private British-led strategy, on the other hand, involves vigorous lobbying for Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the Kimberley Process to delegates behind closed doors.
This is achieved by British Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials advocating Zimbabwe’s expulsion to governments of countries that have members on the Zimbabwe Certification Review team.
Furthermore, Britain privately supports and funds pseudo “independent” human rights groups, which incessantly call for the KP to “ban Zimbabwean blood diamonds.”
The KP represents 75 countries and covers 95 percent of the global rough-diamond industry. Therefore, expulsion from this influential group would amount to further sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe, who would otherwise benefit from the mining of their God-given birthright.
Thus, some people in “human rights” groups are finding their trade to be almost as lucrative as the diamond businesses they deceitfully condemn.
Given that the raison d’Ãªtre of illegal economic sanctions, namely, a reversal of the land reform programme, lies in tatters and further given that the revenue from diamonds in Chiadzwa is set to neutralise the effects of sanctions, it wont be surprising if the actions of those imposing sanctions and attempting to camouflage them with propaganda, become increasingly desperate.
Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He writes in his personal capacity.