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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    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 Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    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.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora