War vets admit Mugabe controls diamond sector

Marange diamond fields

By Alex Bell
20 February 2013

A statement by Zimbabwe’s war vets has supported long held beliefs that it is Robert Mugabe who controls the output of the country’s diamond fields, with fears money from the gems will fund ZANU PF’s election campaign.

The war vets said this week that they want cash, as well as mining rights at the Marange based Chiadzwa diamond fields, saying they had applied for mining licences through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

The war vets’ representatives, Shadreck Makombe and retired major-general Richard Ruwodo, were addressing a Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Defence and Home Affairs on Monday. Ruwodo said their efforts were being stalled by “a lot of politics” in the Ministry of Mines, which appeared ‘reluctant’ to give them licences.

“We have met ZMDC, went to Marange, identified the place we wanted, did all
the paper work and signed a non-disclosure agreement and the papers were
physically moved to the Ministry of Mines where they have been bogged down,” said Ruwodo.

He then went on to state: “We were told that if we wanted to extract coal it was
okay but with diamonds you have to see his Excellency, the President.”

Numerous reports on the situation at Chiadzwa have pointed the finger at the Mugabe regime, which has been accused of controlling who mines there and where the profits go. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has repeatedly stated that the national treasury is not seeing any remittances from the Chiadzwa mines, despite the billions of dollars the area is said to be worth.

A recent report by the international human rights monitor, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), accuses the regime of stealing an estimated US$2 billion worth of diamond proceeds since 2008.

“Marange’s potential has been overshadowed by violence, smuggling, corruption and most of all, lost opportunity,” the PAC report said, adding: “The scale of illegality is mind-blowing” and has spread to “compromise most of the diamond markets of the world.”

Mugabe however has never been directly linked as the man in charge, and the comments by the war vets have strengthened calls for tough legislation to ensure the diamond sector is transparent.

The PAC’s Alan Martin told SW Radio Africa that it is not surprising that Mugabe controls what is happening, saying their research has indicated this before. He said there is serious political interference in the diamond fields, with worrying consequences.

“The areas in Zimbabwe’s government with any powers, are in the hands of ZANU PF, like the mining sector. Nothing has indicated that there is any political will by them to make the mines beneficial for Zimbabweans,” Martin warned.

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5 Responsesto “War vets admit Mugabe controls diamond sector”

  1. wilbert_mukori says:

    This is the imagine of serious human exploitation one sees in movies such as Zoro; I never thought such things could happen in real life, in this day and age and in my own country!

  2. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    Makokoza egoride kumazowe iwe Alex Bell. You should not always find it vonvinient to spread falsehoods to the readership. I have seen the photograph above being used for a positive use. Why do you always write negative stories about a country you call your own? Will you ever come and expect a warm and r tender welcome from my people? I suggest you make England your home forever.

    • Yoozak Hunt says:

      Does the truth hurt? You keep harping on that the resources belong to the Zimbabwean people, well they do… but Mugabe and his lost are taking the diamonds and selling them with the funds going to ZANU-PF…

      If there was a free press in Zimbabwe, which there is not, this would have been reported in exactly the same way by a Zimbabwean Newspaper. Alex Bell and SRA are only reporting it because ZANU-PF would not exist without a muzzled press.

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        And let the truth be told, as the diamond you talk about are being sold in European countries to promote the fortunes of the jewellery stores in the European Union. And just a few days ago, a heist of diamonds worth millions of British pounds were discovered on the shores of one European country that is currently under investigation by the Belgian authorities,

        I must point that we all have a responsibility in fighting corruption from whatever quarter in the country. If Mugabe is responsible for the corruption which has been widely reported, he should be criticised as he is expected to be above board this corruption nonsense we always hear he is involved in. Not that I am scared of him because he is not demigod, he should listen to the voice of reason and behave as head of state. We did not fight for any one individual to enrich him/herself at the expense of the majority of our people.

  3. mike hondo says:

    maybe the time has come for the war vets to liberate the diamonds from the clutches of the greedy few for the benefit of all zimbabweans then there might be enough money to finally pay off the war vets so they can chill out and stop holding the country responsible for all their bills and school fees and they can finally be lifted out of poverty

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