Mugabe must explain diamond revenue looting

via Mugabe must explain diamond revenue looting – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 7, 2016

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s claims last week that $15 billion was looted from diamond revenue by mining companies made for interesting reading. Initially there was a muted response to the claims, but now a lot of dust has been raised and ordinary Zimbabweans are now crying for accountability.

NewsDay Comment

$15 billion is a lot of money and it could have gone a long way in removing Zimbabwe from its economic mess and Zimbabweans have every right to shout blue murder.

However, while we demand accountability and transparency, there is need to interrogate Mugabe’s claims and not take them at face value.

A Nigerian adage says when a leopard wants to eat its young ones, it first accuses them of smelling like goats and we fear Mugabe’s statement was meant to justify the closure of the Chiadzwa diamond fields and shut the companies down.

While we will not take the side of the diamond mining companies, the timing of the accusations is also interesting.

If Mugabe and his government were sincere that such an amount of money had been looted, then they would have acted long back rather than first try to consolidate the nine companies into one and when that had failed, force them to shutdown.

Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa must explain why he wanted the nine companies to consolidate into one if they were stealing so much money from Zimbabweans. The logical thing to do would have been to ensure that these companies were prosecuted and their operations shut.

However, the way Mugabe and Chidakwa have gone about it will instead raise more questions than answers, because this is high level corruption and these miners should not have been given a second chance.

Mugabe’s statement had the effect of condemning the diamond mining companies in the court of public opinion and somehow absolving his government from the alleged looting.

The statements also call for more scrutiny considering that the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) owns a 50% stake in all the diamond mining companies and questions must be asked on where they were when all this money was being looted.

Mugabe’s statements were meant to generate outrage against the diamond mining companies, but this has boomeranged spectacularly and now Zimbabweans need answers from the President, ZMDC and all the ministers on how they could turn a blind eye to looting of such an unprecedented scale.

To put into perspective the money that Mugabe claims was looted, Zimbabwe’s budget is just over $3 billion and $15 billion would have been enough to finance the country for four years, yet the President had to wait until his birthday interview to make such startling allegations.

This raises the spectre that, if indeed these companies had looted so much, they had the blessing and the protection of the government.

When former Finance minister Tendai Biti raised allegations that diamond money was not making its way to Treasury, he was accused of lying and political rent seeking behaviour. Three years later he has been vindicated, but at what cost to the government?

The government’s hands are not clean and Mugabe must take action rather than just blaming the mining companies that now look like the convenient fall guys.



  • comment-avatar
    Manyongori 6 years ago

    Lying and dishonest old fossil takes us for granted,he was the one looting the diamonds thru Mbada Diamonds,the soldiers thru Anjin and the rest thru Marange resources.We not fools old timer.Your time will surely come if not your brood will pay for your sins.Satan we svidhara!Nxaa

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      Tired 6 years ago

      We have a demented 93 year old refusing to handover the reigns and fortune of the country telling it’s ok for China to enrich itself from our resources. Yet Zimbabweans he claims he sorely loves are eating grass..
      The powers in Zimbabwe are too centralised around a bad manager.. If he was in business BOB would have bin a broke, failed businessman .. Coz the decisions of him and his ministers are whack.. And he won’t do the right thing but blame .. Yet wato birwa.. Ndiko kupusa manje.. RETIRE

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    R Judd 6 years ago

    No explanation necessary. We all know what happened and so does he

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    GODORENDA 6 years ago

    Hey, I told you so. Diamonds belong to Robert and his wife. The rest were benefiting from the crumps. Now, he is trying to cleanse his family as his grave entry days arrive. Look at the actions, not the words. Look at the body language. Relaxed, heaped in that chair as he talks. But when asked about succession…RESURRECTS his old, fragile, tired body and declares while banging the coffee table ” NO VACANCY, I’M STILL HERE!”

    This is the only CEO I know who confirms sleeping on the job for years, but never gets fired by the board or anyone; Steals and blames it on Tony Blair, Gorge Bush; Morgan Tsvangson or someone else. Recently he claimed that Mai Mujuru had raped and impregnated a girl.

    He is the only CEO who runs down a whole enterprise, but keeps driving in limousines and fleet of cars and bikes, pomp and fun-fare, travels like nobody’s business. Lives in the air.

    Backed by the military mafia that passes for a national army.

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    Let’s not forget that it is the old man’s trademark to say anything when he is “drunk”. Yes, “drunk” as his former VP, Joice, would precisely put it. So, this is just another of the old man’s drunken stunts – and we should brace for more and more of such stunts as the old man gets younger and younger. To expect otherwise, would just amount to utter fail to appreciate the person we are dealing with. This is OLD UNCLE BOB. He can jump from one moment of madness into another with a straight face.