Zimbabwe has rich deposits of diamonds which forms the back borne of its economy. Of late Zimbabwe has been smuggling its diamond because the government uses that money to cater for its expenses. Several people have been killed by government forces which came to control the mines thus the small scale farmers have been chased away.
The killings have attracted the attention of Kimberly Process, which is an association that monitors the way in which nations trade in diamond. This paper focuses on the available evidence that truly suggests that the government is taking part in illegitimate diamond trade as argued by the article (Charbonneau, 2009) being analyzed.
In December 2009, the U.N General Assembly was accused by the US, the EU, and several Western heavyweights for ignoring the case of Zimbabwe being involved in “blood diamonds”.
Since the civil wars that occurred in Liberia and her neighboring countries, the United Nations general assembly established an oversight body which was meant to regulate the trade in diamond because reports from Liberia suggest that the warring sides obtained their money from the sale of diamond. Many people expected the U.N to take a disciplinary action against Zimbabwe for failing to adhere to the terms of Kimberly Process (Charbonneau, 2009).
The situation in Zimbabwe was brought into the limelight by a report that was forwarded by Namibia to the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon. The document suggests that there is enough evidence against Zimbabwe’s failure to stick to the terms of Kimberly Process. The allegations were denied by the Zimbabwe’s UN representative but what angered most members is the ignorance of the general assembly because the members expected it to respond to the report.
According to investigations carried out by BBC News, there is so much evidence on the ground concerning the illegal trade of diamond. The area that was observed is referred by the locals as Marange .The place has huge deposits of diamond because it is possible to find diamond on the surface of bare ground and when one has to dig the deposits are not anywhere deeper as in other countries where big tunnels are made in order to reach the deposits (Bier, 2010).
Before October 31, 2008 there were so many illegitimate miners in Marange who used to extract the diamond and then sell it to the middle men who later moved the diamonds out of Zimbabwe without being recognized. There are so many people in Zimbabwe who are not employed hence when an opportunity came up they did not hesitate to utilize it.
On October 31, the illegitimate miners were flushed out by government forces which resulted in many miners being killed. From the day that the fields were raided, the government forces have extended their presence in the area hence the security situation on the ground is not stable. Anonymous reports have suggested that some allies of President Mugabe are reaping from the illegal trade (Swain, 2008).
According to McGreal (2008) the government staged the attacks to create an impression that it was opposed to illegal sale of diamond. This statement is quite true because mining has not stopped from that day even with the heavy presence of government forces. It is certain that the forces were brought to cover up for the illegal mining because the diamond obtained from the fields is not sold in the usual diamond market.
If the diamond was to be extracted by the government perhaps the economy of Zimbabwe could have been improved but the current trend is meant to benefit a few individuals at the expense of others. There has been pressure from the international community and as well as activists group to eject Zimbabwe from the diamond market.
However the KP responded by holding a round table meeting where it agreed to supervise the activities of diamond mining in Zimbabwe for a period of one year. Such an action is of interest to international community, because nations should strive to be sovereign and powerful through legitimate actions, which is not the case of Zimbabwe (McGowan, Cornelissen, & Nel, 2007).
Most activists have been pushing for Zimbabwe’s ejection because reports carried out by various groups suggest that the proceeds from illegal sales of diamonds have been used to pay rebels who are responsible of killing and raping women and children during the civil unrest period.
Moreover the proceeds end up in a few individuals pockets. Zimbabwe has the highest rate of corruption and nepotism which caused its economy to decline. It is this type of image that tarnishes the name of Africa because at the international level (Bier, 2010).
Dixon (2008) explains that President Mugabe has been under criticism for his continued stay in office because he is responsible for the decline in economy. It seems that Mugabe is using the Marange diamond fields to reward his allies for supporting him. Zimbabwe has many problems which are due to improper management policies.
For instance, the white farmers were forcefully flashed out of their lands which were later given to Africans who could not maintain the legacy of white farmers. This is because before the land alienation process Zimbabwe used to sell its maize beyond its borders but of late Zimbabwe is buying maize from other countries to sustain its population.
United States issued economic sanctions against the government of Robert Mugabe because he was alleged of violating human rights. That’s why the diamonds are being sold in secret because the US sanctions hinders Zimbabwe from doing business with other nations. The impacts of these sanctions have befallen the common people of Zimbabwe because commodity prices have shot up. The currency of Zimbabwe has lost its value hence do not be surprised when you buy an egg at five million (McGowan et al., 2007).
Were it not for the sanctions, the proceeds from diamond sales can be used to restore the economy of Zimbabwe. This is because the trade would generate foreign currency for Zimbabwean currency and thus the poverty levels would come down. Since the alienations of lands belonging to white farmers, foreign investors withdrew from investing in Zimbabwe.
If the political situation in Zimbabwe was favorable foreign investors would dash to that country which would increase the demand for Zimbabwe’s currency, hence raise its market value. But due to lack of adequate supply of money in the economy the sharp shortage have affected the entire economy.
If the government of Zimbabwe had managed the mining of diamond from the start the deaths that were experienced during the military raid would not have happened. This ignorance exhibited by the government caused many lives to be lost hence the government should take full responsibility of its actions.
It is said that when the government moved away from Chiadzwa diamond fields, the locals rushed into the fields to get a share of the diamond. Many schools were deserted because the teachers and their students were busy extracting diamonds (Bier, 2010).
McGowan et al. (2007) argue that owing to the extreme poverty levels in Zimbabwe and the rest of third world countries, no one would ignore a life time opportunity to become wealthy. The diamond deposits are adequate in Zimbabwe hence they are easy to obtain and that’s why the children were also taking part in the extraction process.
It was not long before the government intervened but its move was met with a lot of resistance which forced its forces to kill the miners. From this perspective, the locals had the right to earn a living from the fields because the government had failed them since it was using the mines to pay for the upkeep of its allies. The situation in Zimbabwe can be solved by removing President Mugabe from power because as long as he is in power he will continue to favor his allies at the expense of the entire nation.
Mugabe uses the army to remain in office and because he is aware that he is not preferred by most of his citizens he has chosen to reward his allies with the diamond mines in exchange for his protection. The economic sanctions have to affect other areas such as the tourism industry because the foreigners fear for their security.
On the other hand the agricultural sector has been affected adversely because the African farmers are not able to add the necessary farm inputs to increase the yields hence there is inadequate supply of food in the economy.
According to Swain (2008), in order to eliminate impunity in Zimbabwe the entire military should be dismantled because it has been used to carry out dubious economic activities. If the current army commanders are retained the vice may continue to persist because they are used to being favored above the rest which makes them look as if they own Zimbabwe.
Mugabe did not consider the consequences of his actions because he would have first observed the techniques that the white farmers were using before he could flush them out. This is because whereas he gave out the farms to his nationals he did not train them on how to manage the firms and that’s why the yields reduced drastically after the Africans took over the farms.
Mugabe should have the interests of the entire nation at heart because currently he does not consider them. If he really did he would not have allowed his own people to be killed in the military operation.
In conclusion, Charbonneau (2009) has presented the concerns raised by the international community on the case of diamonds. The situation in Zimbabwe require more than policy formulation. The concern should be implementation of strategies that can sustain diamond trade with the aim of safeguarding the community and international business in general.
Therefore, the people of Zimbabwe should know that the economy can not be stable when a few individuals are benefiting from the natural resources that were meant to benefit the whole nation.
This means that they should push for a new constitution and before they do that they should elect a new president because Mugabe is not in leadership for their good. A new constitution will ensure that the leaders who will come after Mugabe will not oppress them because he will be held responsible by the law.
Bier, F. (2010). From Blood Diamonds to the Kimberly Process: How NGOs Cleaned up the Global Diamond Industry. Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Charbonneau, L. (2009, December 11). Zimbabwe “blood diamonds” dispute breaks out at U.N.”. United Nations. Reuters.
Dixon, R. (2008, December 4). Marange Diamond Fields – Death stalks a field of gems. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 30, 2010 from http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/04/world/fg-diamonds4
McGowan, P., Cornelissen, S. & Nel, P. (2007). Power, Wealth and Global Equity: An International Relations Textbook for Africa. (3 rd Ed). Lansdowne: UCT Press.
McGreal, C. (2008, December 11). Bodies pile up as Mugabe wages war on diamond miners. Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved December 29, 2010 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/11/diamond-miners-zimbabwe-war-mugabe
Swain, J (2008, December 7). Battle for Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds. The Sunday Times (UK). Retrieved December 30, 2010 from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5299061.ece