News / Africa

    Mugabe Digs In on State Seizure of Diamond Mining

    FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Feb. 22, 2016.
    FILE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Feb. 22, 2016.

    Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe said late Thursday that he will not back down on his decision to seize control of the diamond industry. Last month, Mugabe gave foreign mining companies 90 days to stop work and leave the country.Scaring away foreign investors may be the last thing Zimbabwe needs right now.
     
    In a wide-ranging interview on state television, Mugabe said Zimbabwe has received less than $2 billion for what he said has been $15 billion worth of diamonds mined since 2009
     
    “So where have our carats have been going?  We have been blinded ourselves. Lots of swindling, smuggling has taken place and companies that have been mining virtually, I want to say robbed us of our wealth. And that is why we have decided that this area should be a monopoly area and only the state should be able to do the mining in that area," he said. "You cannot trust a private company in that area, none at all. And we should have learnt from the experiences of countries like Botswana, Angola, Namibia etc."
     
    Mugabe included the Chinese mining company Anjin in his indictment, a surprising move for some.
     
    China is a key investment partner for Zimbabwe.  Officials have referred to China as the country's “all-weather friend” since the U.S. and European nations imposed sanctions in 2002 over rights violations and vote rigging.

    But Mugabe says he addressed his concerns about Anjin with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on his landmark visit to Zimbabwe late last year.
     
    “I don’t think it has affected any of our relations adversely at all. I don’t think so. I told President Xi Jinping that we were not getting much from the company and we didn’t like it any more in this country. So we wanted it to go back. I told him that here," he said.

    Anjin is one of nine foreign mining companies now fighting Mugabe’s move in court. The case opened this week in Harare.

    The government said last month that under the new system, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company - in which the government will hold at least 51 percent equity - will now mine the country’s gems.

    Zimbabwean economist John Robertson says the government is not actually ready to take over diamond extraction and the country's indigenisation policy was going to affect further mining of diamonds (VOA/ S. Mhofu).
    Zimbabwean economist John Robertson says the government is not actually ready to take over diamond extraction and the country's indigenisation policy was going to affect further mining of diamonds (VOA/ S. Mhofu).

    But Zimbabwean economist John Robertson says the government isn’t actually ready to take over diamond extraction.

    “That is a nonsensical statement. You actually need cash to do the actual job in mining. Now they need capital, now they need to bring in proper techs to extract the real value from what is available. And the money to do that isn’t there," he said. "The people that are supposed to bring in the money are thoroughly discouraged by the fact that they have to invest 100 percent of their capital and only be allowed to earn an income from only 49 percent of that capital."
     
    The government says this new system is in line with the broader indigenization policy which since 2008 has forced foreign companies and landholders to cede control to black Zimbabweans.

    Mugabe says the law was meant to return the economy to the hands of blacks who were marginalized during British colonial rule.

    But analysts say that policy and others have sunk Zimbabwe’s economy to unprecedented lows. Unemployment is above 80 percent, and the government relies on foreign aid to fund social sectors like education and health.

    In 2008, the Kimberly Process suspended Zimbabwe from trading in diamonds following reports that senior government and military officials had taken control of the mines and were smuggling the precious stones.  Rights groups reported that the diamonds were collected through forced labor.

    The suspension was only lifted in 2009 when Harare convinced the Kimberly Process - a world body aimed at stemming the flow of conflict diamonds - that normalcy had been restored.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts

    Experts predicted chaos would follow, if Britain decided to vote for Brexit, and chaos has

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
    March 05, 2016 5:19 AM
    It does sound like the royalties to the Zimbabwe government were half what they should have been. I also think that Nigeria might have rich diamond reserves to mine.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora