Friday, November 04, 2011

Diamonds Deal Boon For Zimbabwe

Diamonds deal boon for Zim

Saturday, 05 November 2011 00:00
Zimbabwe Herald
Takunda Maodza Senior Reporter

ZIMBABWEANS across the political divide yesterday hailed the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for allowing the country to trade in diamonds from Marange saying the revenue will help bust sanctions and boost the economy.

The KPCS gave Zimbabwe the green light to sell its diamonds at a plenary session held in Kinshasa, DRC, this week.

The KCS endorsement came in the face of spirited efforts by some Western nations - led by the US, Canada and Australia - that wanted to bar the Chiadzwa gems from the international market.

The Western nations, that imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium sought to taint the Marange gems as blood diamonds.

Analysts said this was out of fear that revenue from diamond sales would enable Zimbabwe to bust the illegal sanctions regime.

Political parties in the inclusive Government hailed the KPCS endorsement.

"The (Zanu-PF) party welcomes the decision taken by the Kimberly Process Plenary session held in the Democratic Republic of Congo to approve the unrestricted sale of the Marange diamonds on the international market," said Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo.

"The decision will impact positively on the economic development of Zimbabwe and break the economic sanctions web.

"The sale of the diamonds, which are worth billions of dollars, will go a long way in solving the country's economic woes."

Cde Gumbo said Zimbabwe was sitting on over two million carats of diamonds mined from Chiadzwa, Marange, but had failed to sell them because of the opposition from the European Union and the US.

He thanked the African Diamond Producers Association and other countries that advocated the sale of Marange diamonds.

Cde Gumbo said Zanu-PF had always made it clear that the Chiadzwa diamonds were a strategic national asset and "one of the achievements of our national land reclamation programme".

"Zanu-PF wishes to reassure the nation that the diamonds belong as much to all the people of Zimbabwe as any fruits of our reclaimed land," he said.

"The proceeds from the sale of the diamonds should go a long way in helping the Government to pay its civil servants, meet food deficit in the country, spruce up its health and education sectors and revive the economy."

MDC vice president Mr Edwin Mushoriwa said: "As a party, we believe the KPCS has taken a right decision in allowing Zimbabwe to sell its diamonds.

"We believe what is now needed is for the country to come up with a system that allows revenue generated from the sale of our diamonds to benefit all Zimbabweans in a transparent manner.

"The KPCS decision is a noble one. The ball is now in our court as a country."

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said: "Our only worry is whether the revenue from the diamonds is going to be channelled towards Government.

"We have always desired that revenue from diamond sales be channelled towards a consolidated revenue trust so that the Finance Minister can allocate the income accordingly."

Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairperson Mr Godwills Masimirembwa said the miners would now increase production.

"We are very excited with this development. The KPCS decision simply confirms Zimbabwe's right to benefit from its diamond resource.

"We, as producers, will ratchet up production so that the country benefits."

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