Diamond Bonanza Fails to Benefit Zimbabwe


Enormous discoveries of diamonds in Zimbabwe offer a path out of poverty for the struggling country, just as they did for neighboring Botswana. But poor governance is leading to little benefit for Zimbabweans.

Even the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangeri, says he does not know where the revenue is going from the licensed-to-export diamond mines, controlled by three firms with Lebanese and Chinese interests involved. The lack of transparency is straining an already fragile power-sharing arrangement between Tsvangeri’s party and that of President Robert Mugabe.

Last year a ban on Zimbabwe diamonds was controversially lifted by the industry watchdog despite reports of human rights abuses in the country.

In December the New York Times reported that millions of dollars of revenue is being lost to corruption via the military and to Mugabe’s party Zanu-PF.

Mike Davis, a specialist at Global Witness, a group that has extensively researched the contested mines in eastern Zimbabwe, told the Times, “the benefits of the diamond sales go primarily to allies of the president.” He said that this was “part of a wider attempt by people around Mugabe to seize the diamond wealth for their own political purposes, which in the short term means beating and cheating their way to another election.”

Finance minister Tendai Biti, who belongs to prime minister Tsvangirai’s party, told ABC Australia this week:

There is no transparency in the present moment. The Chinese that are there, the Lebanese that are there – no-one is sure of what is happening vis-a-vis the revenue transmission. They are Zimbabwean assets and they have to benefit the Zimbabwean people. So far they’re not benefiting Zimbabwean people.

Asked to give a figure on how much is being lost, Tendai said: “the figure is close to billions.”

According to Zimbabwean human rights group Sokwanele, who has produced an extensive report on the diamond fields:

What should have been a means of salvation for the virtually bankrupt country after ten years of chaos that saw world record inflation and the nation brought to its knees has led, instead, to greed, corruption and exploitation on a grand scale, the use of forced labour – both adults and children – horrifying human rights abuses, brutal killings, degradation of the environment and the massive enrichment of a select few.



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Activist Spotlight: Jytte Nhanenge Tackles Poverty in Africa

Diamond Mining Leaves People And Land Devastated

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Photo from paparutzi via flickr

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Kristina C.
Kristina C.3 years ago

It is pretty obvious where the revenue is going from the diamonds : to the ones that already have money in the country and all other corrupt foreign investors! = simple math:
$ + $ = $

Myriam G.
Myriam G.3 years ago

Dear Patricia and edw j,
there is only one kind of people: people.
Sorry for sounding so simple, but the color of a person's skin doesn't mean that this person is from "this kind" or "that kind". Lots of people from lots pf places did awful things to the good people of Africa, but please, don't drag the absurd concept of "race" in this.

Monica D.
Monica D.3 years ago

This sounds terrible. I' have also noticed the comment by Joseph B.

Clothears Santa

Thanks for sharing.

Clothears Santa

i bought my lady, a diamond once, but after I learnt from Care2 friend, about blood diamonds. I would never buy one again

Bernard Cronyn
.3 years ago

My god Joseph B. "What you need to understand about Zimbabwe" is such an arrogant statement from one that I bet has never lived in Africa let alone Zimbabwe. In my opinion based on being African born and having lived in Africa most of my life including time in Zimbabwe, your statement typifies the typical “Interfering Yankee” and as such is racist and patronizing. Your statement assumes that Black people in Africa are helpless children at the mercy of every foreigner that comes their way and are not responsible as adults for their own choices or actions. You surmise that monsters like Mugabe are not driven by greed but are merely innocent pawns of some evil white men. Wake up to reality Joseph and please, please I beg you but out of African affairs!

patrica and edw jones

Joseph B - what DEMOCRACY are you talking about??? The blacks are worse to their own kind than the whites ever were.

patrica and edw jones

If only Mugabe could be removed from his seat of power in Zimbabwe - but then who can say whether the corruption will abate with the a different government - or that the poor will see any benefit. Whilst the UN sits on its authoritative seat and allows despots like the late Gaddafi, the current al -Bashir Assad et al to hold sway over decent democracies like Israel - nothing on God's green earth will change.

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.3 years ago

never does happen for the good of the people, the money always ends up in the wrong pockets and breeds more slavery and greed

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad3 years ago

Lot of blood has been shed in that country for the sake of diamonds!