News / Africa

Zimbabwe Officials Dismiss Report on Diamond Stealing

Reuven Kaufman President of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York (C) talks with Zimbabwean Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu (R) during the Zimbabwean Diamond Conference, Victoria Falls, November 13, 2012.
Reuven Kaufman President of the Diamond Dealers Club of New York (C) talks with Zimbabwean Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu (R) during the Zimbabwean Diamond Conference, Victoria Falls, November 13, 2012.
Zimbabwean officials have dismissed a report by a non-profit group leading the campaign against conflict diamonds. The report says at least $2 billion worth of diamonds have been stolen from the country’s diamond fields and have ended up in the pockets of President Robert Mugabe's ruling circle. 

In a report released Monday, Partnership Africa Canada said Zimbabwe's Marange fields have seen "the biggest plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes," the colonial magnate who exploited South Africa's diamonds more than a century ago.

The Canadian non-profit is a member of the Kimberley Process, the international organization set up to stop the trade in so-called "blood diamonds" - diamonds mined to finance conflict.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s mines minister Obert Mpofu said the report was “nonsensical” and a work of “detractors.”

"The first thing about detractors is: Who do they want to please by raising issues which are only nonsensical? They always run around to do those things," he said. "This is sponsored by their governments who imposed sanctions on us. It is real desperate attempt by people who are criminals just to create a smoke screen.”

A smoke screen to dim Zimbabwe government's conference on the diamond trade here in Victoria Falls, said the minister.

Zimbabwe has some of the world’s biggest diamond deposits. But the gems, discovered just a decade ago, have failed to spark the country's economy, which has yet to fully recover from the deep depression it went through.

At the conference, President Robert Mugabe was mum on the Partnership Africa Canada report, which accused his security and military officials of looting proceeds from diamonds instead of channeling the funds to the treasury.

Mugabe has his own explanation why the diamonds are not lending some sparkle to Zimbabwe’s weak economy.

“Due to the illegal sanctions imposed on the local diamond mining companies, the country has not been able to realize full benefits, particularly from diamonds mined in Marange," said Mugabe. "The diamonds have been marketed at depressed prices owing to a negative buyer perception resulting from these illegal sanctions. I don't know why sanctions are still imposed."

That is reference to targeted sanctions that Britain, the United States, and other countries imposed on Mugabe and his close associates in 2002 following human rights abuses.

At the conference, officials accused civil society groups of casting a unjustly negative light on what is happening in Zimbabwe. But Shamiso Mtisi, who heads Zimbabwe’s civil society coalition for the Kimberley Process, has some words of advice for officials who expect NGOs to speak only good of their country.

“They normally do not want to listen to the voice of the civil society, which is the voice which resonates well with the community," said Shamiso Mtisi. "It is quite important because we are raising issues around transparency and accountability. ”

Delegates to the Victoria Falls conference were expected to discuss ways of ensuring Zimbabwe's diamonds benefit the economy as a whole, not just a few individuals. But it seems delegates left the two-day conference Tuesday without any solution to the problem.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid