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04.03.2009 Feature Article

The Blood Diamonds Issue Will Not Go Away in Zimbabwe

The World has been cautiously optimistic over the New National Unity Government currently in Zimbabwe. After a year which saw Controversial Election Results, A Crackdown Against the Supporters of the Political Opposition and the Independent Media , A Free Falling Economy and a Devasting Cholera Outbreak there was optimism within the country itself things could actually improve within the Country.

Sadly it appears that Zimbabwe will be suffering from an Old African Problem. This is a problem that plagued Sierra Leone and Liberia back in the 1990s. It is also a small part of the Ongoing cycle of Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This Problem that has only been addressed seriously for the last decade and that is the Amount of Blood Diamonds that has hit the streets with impunity. The Stories that have made the rounds were horrific. People not meeting their Daily Quota of mining Precious Stones had their Hands cut off, It has been alledged that Terrorists have used them to Finance Operations around the World and even been used to Purchase Weapons to Fuel these conflicts.

First of all what is a Blood Diamond? Basically the best definition of a Blood Diamond is a Gem that has been mined for ilicit purposes. Since the inception of the Kimberley Process some years ago the use of Diamonds to fuel Conflicts and Acts of Terrorism was thought to be on the decline. After all the gems were to be Laser Inscribed with a specific code that would tell where this particular stone was mined from. There have been several attempts to circumvent the process and most of these attempts involve one specific Country in the Cone of Africa. This country is Zimbabwe.

There has been more than one attempt by ZANU-PF to use Diamonds to meet Budgetary Shortfalls. In 2007 there were allegations that the Zimbabwean Government was skimming Diamonds that were mined in the Congo in order to raise badly needed funds. So when these stones hit the streets via South Africa traders would assume that they would have come from Zimbabwe. In 1998 during the First of the Many Conflicts in the Post-Mobutu Zaire, Zimbabwe was one of several Nations that intervened in the Conflict that turned into a grab for the abundant Natural Resources in the Country.

While most of the International Media was focused on the Morass regarding the Elections that should have been resolved in March of Last Year. There was an attempted extortion plot Last Month that garnered little International Interest among the Major Media Outlets but Specialists sure knew about . It appears that One of Zimbabwe's Two Presidents Joyce Mujuru a loyalist to President Mugabe tried to threaten a British Diamond Executive after the firm refused to handle $ 15 Million worth of Blood Diamonds that her daughter wanted to sell.

This is not the first time that this Family has been involved in Controvery regarding the Diamond Trade. The Family has a stake in River Ranch Diamond Mine. From 2004 to 2007 the Mine received aid from a UN owned company called African Management Services Company. It was also reported that vehicles from the United Nations Development Program also took Diamonds from the Mine into South Africa. An Investigation into this matter that was conducted last year has yet to release its report.

According to recent Press Reports it is believed that it will take at least $ 5 Billion to rebuild the fractured Zimbabwean Economy. With the current state of the World's Economy it may be some time before the International Community is able to provide the Proper amount of funds that is desperatley needed in the Country. So this could be a decent explanation about why the Country is taking this action. It needs to raise funds but with the International Sanctions against the Leadership of the Country they feel that they need to work around the system.

And that will create more problems in the Long Run for Zimbabwe

Scott A Morgan
Scott A Morgan, © 2009

This author has authored 88 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: ScottAMorgan

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