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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs