- Last Updated on 22 June 2012
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A battle is brewing in Zimbabwe over control of the country's newly found diamond wealth. There is concern that money from diamond mining in Zimbabwe is not flowing through to the country's economy. With little support, the country has managed to survive on through grit and guts under the promise of diamond revenue after the discovery of large diamond fields. Diamonds were supposed to be the panacea to the country's myriad of economic ills. Last year in his announcement of the 2012 budget Finance Minister Tendai Biti reported that Zimbabwe's diamonds will be a billion dollar industry and that this year the treasury expects revenue of $600m from diamonds. However Minister Biti recently pronounced that the expected $ US600 million is not forthcoming. Zimbabwe anticipated US$77.5 million from diamond sales during the first two months of the year, but only received US$25 million. Amid claims that Marange diamonds have brought stiff competition on the international market, the big question is where is Zimbabwe's diamonds cash going? Three companies have been licensed to mine and export diamonds potentially worth billions of dollars, but the benefits are yet to be seen by the people of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has braved economic sanctions, agricultural down spiralled and industry is a pale shadow of its former self, but the discovery of diamonds in 2006 became the major hope for fumes to drive the country's economic engine. A group monitoring 'blood' diamonds, Global Witness, in its report said that mining officials loyal to the authoritarian president are stashing profits from Zimbabwe's diamond fields, and cited fears the money could be used for political violence ahead of proposed elections. Global Witness said that its investigations show unspecified amounts of diamond earnings are being hidden in the tax-free havens of Mauritius, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. The mining executives include retired and serving police and military officers, raising fears that the money could be used to finance violence and intimidation.
Zimbabwe is among the most failed states for 2012 according to an American Foreign Policy Magazine which ranks nations according to their stability, human flight and abuse, economic decline, security and external intervention measures. Zimbabwe, the once bread basket of Southern Africa has been destroyed by the Zanu PF regime. Zimbabwe desperately needs these diamonds for health, education and the re-financing of its industry. It does not need it to be spent o AK47s or repression of the people, rather than the diamonds funding war chests, revenue should better address impending crises in Zimbabwe.