Last time we ended on a cliff hanger with the several international bodies calling some intervention in the Marange diamond mines with widespread claims of killings, violence and sexual assault to name a few, occuring in the area. This week we will carry on with our History Monday by detailing the response of the international community.
But first let us define some words and phrases I will be throwing around in this post:
- Blood diamond- stones produced in conflict zones
- Pariah states – a nation that is considered an outcast in the international community
- Kimberley Process – a government led certification scheme launched in 2003 to clean up the diamond trade. (Applies only to rough diamonds).
Zimbabwe had always been a participant of the Kimberley Process even prior to the scramble for the Marange Diamond Fields. In mid 2007, the Kimberley Process annual meeting noted its concern for the challenges faced by the process implementation in the country.
We must note that the United Nations is the only international body that can isolate pariah states dealing in alleged ‘blood diamonds’.Many concerned organisations such as the World Diamond Council called for an immediate clampdown on the smuggling of ‘blood diamonds’ from Zimbabwe. A non governmental organisation that represents all participants in the Kimberley Process, the Kimberley Process Civil Sociey Coalition called for Zimbabwe’s suspension. This was at the height of violent manuevering by the government to take control of the diamond fields.
As the review panel for the Kimberley Process were looking into Zimbabwe many news organisations sent in their findings and evidence of first hand accounts of violent enslavement, villagers forced to dig with their hands and soldiers holding them at gun point.
Alas, despite all this, the Kimberley Process certified Zimbabwe’s Diamond Mining Company to sell rough diamonds from the Marange fields in December 2009. The Kimberley Process implemented a 12 month plan with the Zimbabwe Government. This was to monitor all diamonds mined from the fields, to prevent illegal digging, illegal smuggling, improve audit and accounting processes and supervise all exports from the mines.
It has since come under fire from several Human Rights organisations and activists for being soft on the obvious abuses by Mugabe and his governement in the Marange Diamond Fields.
An Aside Thought (Personal view):
To be honest at this juncture, it is safe to say; we, the citizens of Zimbabwe were failed by the international community. Here was a chance for an important, influential, unbiased international body to make a real difference in the lives of Zimbabweans.
Despite reports of the Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu and other elite politiciams having strong ties with the companies seeking approval, the KP disregarded this and gave the nation’s wealth to the same scoundrels that are squandering the national coffers! Are they so quick to forget US$217! I bet the Old Man was sat in his office laughing at the double standards.
I think lets continue our History Monday next time. We shall end our Marange Diamond Fields Segment with a discussion of the impact mining had on the enviroment. I am hoping to then start with the History of Zimbabwe and work our way through how our country came to be what it is today. This would be in honour of our Elections. Countdown to Elections. Go vote Zimbabweans. Change can only come through us!
- Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia (DCLA), 12/02/2012. ” Zimbabwe: Another Zimbabwe Diamond mine gets OK”
- The Daily Mail, 19/09/2009. “The return of the blood diamonds: Miners at gunpoint in Zimbabwe”
- The Africa Report, 12/12/2012. “The story of Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds: pollution, politics, power”
- Global Witness. 14/06/2010. “Return of the Blood Diamond”
- Wikipedia. ” Marange Diamond Fields”