Sunday, September 24, 2017

Second Coming of Global Witness
Mzingaye Khumalo
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Forget the transparency issues that Global Witness is raising about the Marange diamonds. That is just but a gimmick.

Critics from time immemorial have argued that the meaning of a given text lies in the empty spaces between sentences or words.

Similarly, the Germans have a proverb which says “if you want to kill a dog you allege that it has rabies”.

The aforementioned assertions aptly sums up the agenda of Global Witness insofar as its interests in the Marange Diamond Fields are concerned and as epitomised in its September 2017 publication of its report titled “An Inside Job”.

The publication in its entirety literally attempts to allege that the Marange diamonds have “rabies”, so to say, in deliberate efforts to kill the dog.

In pursuit of the takeover of the Marange Diamond Fields, the US, through Global Witness, claims to have “uncovered new evidence that reveals how Zimbabwe’s feared Central Intelligence Organisation, (CIO), the military, notorious smugglers, and well-heeled political elites, all gained control or ownership of companies operating in Zimbabwe’s diamond fields”.

This report is a follow-up to a similar one published in 2010 whose title was “Return of the Blood Diamond”.

The 2010 publication made claims that “Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF political and military elite are seeking to capture the country’s diamond wealth through a combination of State-sponsored violence and the introduction of opaque joint-venture companies”.

At the centre of the claims was the then Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Dr Obert Mpofu, whom it said had “been at the forefront of efforts to block oversight of the joint venture companies, Canadile Miners and Mbada Diamonds”.

Whereas Minister Mpofu is no longer in the midst of things today, a new fall guy has been identified, of which this time is the Central Intelligence Organisation.

It stands to be seen if the Global Witness will manage to play President Robert Mugabe, who represents the aspirations of the masses, against his own intelligence service.

But judging from President Mugabe’s Goliath remarks at the 72nd United Nation General Assembly, America could once again be on a losing streak against this small country in Southern Africa.

Forget the transparency issues that Global Witness is raising about the Marange diamonds. That is just but a gimmick.

Global Witness is aware the CIO is clean, but is just taking chances in pursuit of its agenda to take control of the oversight operations.

This would not be the first time America has done a similar act in Africa. True indeed to the words of renowned literary author Allan Paton who said “history is the shadow of the future”, the mighty America is once again back with its old same bag of tricks of penetration.

America seeks to do with the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe, what it has done before in some parts of Africa through its proxy, the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development which USAID co-finances alongside the European Union.

What is important for the majority of Zimbabweans is to understand that the import of the report is to solicit support against the Government-led model of managing of the Marange diamond fields with a view of warranting external intervention which would be led by none other than the mighty America.

Secondly, Global Witness is not what it seems to the naked eye.

Whereas Global Witness masquerades as an international non-governmental organisation that purportedly seeks to “break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide”, it is in actual fact a CIA outfit that seeks to expand the US hegemony in the diamond sector, particularly in Africa.

In fact, this naked truth and strategy by Global Witness is there for everyone to see in the said latest publication by Global Witness.

In part, the publication’s executive summary reports: “The diamond sector in Zimbabwe is currently at a crossroads. After a decade of disappointment, only root and branch reform, supported by a more transparent and responsible international diamond trade, offers hope of avoiding a repeat performance.”

It adds: “Despite offering early promise and hope, diamonds have failed to benefit the Zimbabwean people. Instead, they have provided secret off-budget funding for state security forces consistently implicated in their oppression.

“As elections and a divisive presidential succession struggle loom, this has serious implications for Zimbabwe’s democratic future, and casts serious doubt on President Mugabe’s claim that private investors are solely to blame for billions of dollars of missing diamond revenues.”

As alluded before, the strategy that Global Witness intends to use on Zimbabwe is a carbon copy of the Côte d’Ivoire experience.

Riding on Côte d’Ivoire’s 2002 political instability which saw that country being slapped with UN Sanctions in 2004, which were in 2005 enlarged to include a ban on the export of rough diamonds, the US found an entry point to control the operations of that country’s diamond industry.

Once Côte d’Ivoire was standing on shaky ground, the US under the disguise of the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) marked its entrance into that country.

DDI masquerades as having “keen interest in offering its expertise” diamond mining operations.

The US followed up its first stage through the establishment of grouping of nations that came to be known as “Friends of Côte d’Ivoire (FOCDI)” In 2010. FOCDI’s mission was couched as to “help the Ivoirian government move towards KPCS compliance and the lifting of the embargo.”

This group includes the United States, the European Union, Canada, Belgium, United Kingdom, Brazil, Ghana, and the Republic of South Africa.

The mission culminated in the appointment of technical assistance and an advisor duly deployed in March 2013, funded first by USAID, and from August by the EU.

This is the same script America seeks to use in Marange in pursuit of having control of the mining operations.

The executive summary of the same publication further claims that “basic information on Zimbabwe’s production and revenues has never been meaningfully reported, frustrating efforts to make sure funds are going where they are supposed to”.

If this reported scenario is indeed spot on, America by now should have relinquished its post as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme Working Group Chair on Statistics.

The core business of this working group is to “ensure timely reporting and analysis of statistical data on the production and trade of rough diamonds. By doing this, it can identify anomalies and ensure the effective implementation of the scheme”.

Judging on how judicious the mighty America is, one is left wondering how the WGS missed on the alleged shambolic diamond financial reports of Zimbabwe.

In essence “An Inside Job” is an attempt by America to seek legitimacy in its illegal quest to superintend over resources of perceived weaker countries.

No comments: