Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why Alter Rules on Zimbabwe Gems?

Why alter rules on Zim gems?

Zimbabwe Herald

ZIMBABWE has done everything possible to sell its diamonds with the full co-operation of the international community as represented by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. But goal posts are being changed all the time to meet political ends.

A Joint Work Plan was drawn and agreed upon by the KP and the Zimbabwean Government at Swakopmund, Namibia, last year.

This was at a plenary session of the KP and this work plan can only be amended at another plenary session set for the end of this year.

It was, therefore mischievous for the KP to try to amend the work plan at the intercessional meeting in Tel Aviv last week.

All this smacks of desperation by the western powers that fear Zimbabwe could emerge out of the economic quagmire it is in once it starts selling its diamonds.

They can see the sting being taken out of their sanctions; instead of screaming, the Zimbabwean economy will soon be laughing.

Zimbabwe has done well by following the process set out by the KP to the letter and spirit. The process of designating a monitor took four months as the West tried to impose a monitor who would serve their agenda whilst Zimbabwe insisted on a monitor from the Sadc region. Zimbabwe waited patiently for an agreement to be reached. The two parties finally agreed on Mr Abbey Chikane, a South African whose reputation is solid.

Mr Chikane cannot be justifiably accused of being soft on Zimbabwe as his first report raised serious weaknesses in Zimbabwe’s system and demanded that they be correctly.

He came for the second time and worked meticulously to ensure that the KP standards were met. Zimbabwe was clever enough to get assistance from Namibian diamond experts in the implementation of the Joint Work Plan and was able to meet and exceed the minimum requirements of the KP.

It was for this reason that the majority of the members of the KP meeting in Tel Aviv had no problems accepting that Zimbabwe had done all that is necessary to be allowed to export its diamonds.

Those opposing the exports, notably the United States, Canada, Australia and the coterie of non-governmental organisations that they sponsor, could not find anything in the Joint Work Plan against Zimbabwe.

What was raised is clearly outside the Joint Work Plan and should be rejected. The pre-conditions set such as the release of Farai Maguwu, the replacement of Mr Chikane by a proxy of the West and the demand that one percent from the sale of Zimbabwe’s diamonds be allocated to civil society have no merit at all.

Rule of law demands that once a matter is before the courts it should be exhausted there. This is what happened with the Roy Bennett case, where again, the West was demanding that the case be thrown away.

As for the demand that a certain percentage of the sales should go to the civil society, that is a completely ridiculous demand. Had they demanded that the percentage go straight to the people of Marange we would have understood. But not to the so-called civil society! Who do they represent?

Were they elected by anyone? How can they claim to represent the people of Zimbabwe when everyone knows they were created by the western powers to pursue their regime change agenda?

Now that the due process has been followed Zimbabwe should justifiably proceed and sell its gems. In doing so, it should remain committed to the KP standards and continue to work with the KP monitor in shooting for even higher standards.

What makes Zimbabwe’s case easy to appreciate is that there are several countries exporting diamonds under the KP whose standards are nowhere near what Zimbabwe has achieved. Everyone in the KP is aware of this.

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