26 October 2013

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai De-Campaigns Chiadzwa Diamonds

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday dragged by his handlers to a seminar at Oxford University where he cast aspersions on diamond mining at Chiadzwa in a bid to counter the visit by the Antwerp World Diamond Council delegation that arrived in Zimbabwe on Thursday to explore modalities of trading the gems on the international market.

Mr Tsvangirai was accompanied to the seminar titled "Making Extractive Industries in Africa Work for African People" that was jointly convened by Oxford University and the international NGO Oxfam, by his political advisor Dr Alex Magaisa.

Contrary to media reports, Mr Tsvangirai was not billed for a special lecture on the aforementioned subject as he was part of a three-member panel along with Mr Sam Kutesa, Uganda's foreign affairs minister and Professor Mthuli Ncube, chief economist with the African Development Bank.

In his presentation, which focused entirely on Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai claimed a "new dangerous culture emerged when diamonds were discovered in Zimbabwe" that he claimed was manifest in:

the powerful role of the military that he claimed had taken over and militarised operations in Chiadzwa.

lack of transparency in diamond mining and revenue.

elite capture of national diamond resources; and

emergence of a parallel government during the inclusive Government that he claimed was bankrolled by diamond revenue.

He claimed Zanu-PF "stole" the harmonised elections using diamond money that he claimed was used to create a Zanu-PF "war chest". And in the clearest indication that he would ignore the dominant sentiment in his party that he was past his sell by date, Mr Tsvangirai said "democratisation was not an event" but a process that would take him to the 2018 elections.

Analysts yesterday described the seminar as an attempt to secure the door when the horses had already bolted as the Antwerp World Diamond Council was in Zimbabwe exploring modalities of getting the Chiadzwa diamonds on the international market.

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