EU removal of targeted sanctions on ZMDC “meaningless”

via EU removal of targeted sanctions on ZMDC “meaningless” | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda  October 1, 2013

The decision by the EU late last month to remove all targeted sanctions that were still in place against the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), is not likely to change much in terms of the way the country’s diamonds are traded and accounted for, an economic expert has told SW Radio Africa.

As of September 25th, cheaper rough diamonds from Zimbabwe will be allowed into EU member countries, following the ZMDC’s removal from the list of companies that were included when restrictive measures were put in place against Robert Mugabe and his close allies in 2002.

But according to economist John Robertson, the move will not mean much in terms of the transparency and accountability that Zimbabwean human rights activists and ordinary citizens have been demanding. This is because the Chinese appear to have a hold on them in deals already made with the Mugabe regime.

“The diamonds so far appear to have mostly gone to China but it’s impossible to know just what proportion has gone there and what proportion of the gem quality stones have ended up in the Chinese market. And it is very unlikely that the Chinese would want to now relinquish them to any other country,” Robertson said.

He said the delisting of the ZMDC might mean that some European countries can now place direct orders with Mbada diamonds or any of the other Chiadzwa diamond mining companies, but there is no way of knowing whether they will still have to go through Chinese connections to have their orders fulfilled.

According to Robertson, Zimbabwe’s diamond companies have not been properly incorporated in a way that makes where they are and how they function open to scrutiny, audits, taxation or bookkeeping regulations.

Some reports had predicted that lifting the restrictive measures will mean cheap rough diamonds from Zimbabwe would now flood markets in countries like India, which boasts the world’s largest diamond cutting and polishing centre in Surat. This is turn would translate to a price drop.

One report quoted Dinesh Navadia, president of the Surat Diamond Association, as saying: “The big diamond mining companies would be compelled to reduce their rough diamond prices as the cheap Zimbabwe goods have officially entered the market.”

But Robertson was not as optimistic. He said: “I could see no reason why this change would make any difference whatever to the way in which the diamonds are mined and exported. I think the people who are receiving these diamonds currently are going to be very unwilling to see a change that would be to the benefit of European or Indian companies.”

The EU imposed restrictive measures against the ZMDC in 2002, following reports that implicated the company in diverting diamond revenue to prop-up the Mugabe regime and its human rights abuses and oppressive policies.

The measures simply consisted of a travel ban and an assets freeze which have now been lifted, but have been used as propaganda by ZANU PF, who have blamed them for all of Zimbabwe’s economic, political and even environmental problems.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar
    zondi 7 years ago

    This headline is ‘meaningless. It suggests that the removal of sanctions is only ‘meaningful’ if it is going to benefit the EU and not the people of Zim. ‘Meaningless’ because it is very unlikely that the Chinese would want to now relinquish them to any other country?

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    Africanson 7 years ago

    Typcal zimbabweans alwways decampaigning their own country. I am not surprised when one expect remarked that zimbabweans is a country of confused sellouts who are prepared to drown thier country to poverty in order to please foreigners. Every opportunity is utilised to create hopeless for the nation. When you read some of the stuff you may think its coming out from elsewhere yet its straight from zimbabweans. I my opinion its a shame. I saw raila odinga side by side with uhuru kenyatta moaning together. I said to myself if this was zimbabwe the ruling paty could be moaning while some individuals like john robbertson and tererai will be celebrating not mentioning morgan

    • comment-avatar
      Patriotic 7 years ago

      Well said

    • comment-avatar

      Perhaps it is the government that has created this feeling of hopelessness. Robertson points out that there are no revenues anyway from these diamonds for the country as they are spirited away to China. The sanctions that you claim were destroying the economy are actually ineffectual and it seems you now agree??

  • comment-avatar
    Africanson 7 years ago

    Thank you jrr. This is how I am looking at it. ZMDC employs Zimbabweans right? Meaning the workers benefit when the company does well not mentioning the income to the nation. So all companies must be allowed to operate without sanctions weather they are owned by gvt mdc or zanu of. What I fail to appreciate are sanctions against employment. People like John Robertson are immune to suffering if companies don’t do well. It is our poor relatives in places like dzivaresekwa etc who lack income when these companies close or under perform. That’s how I look at it. That’s why you see some parties lose support because they play politics that starves the same people they claim to protect. Lets not sabotage our economy for political gain because the same opposition people will need the same economy when thy assume power. I look at things as a former employee not as a political party.

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    michael 7 years ago

    Africanson
    It’s called politics, you dumb ass. One person voices their opinions and another offer counter arguments. It would appear, ‘Africanson’ you are unable to debunk a banana let alone a valid argument. If you are a beacon of the educated, then Zimbabwe is doomed to the status quo, presided over by Zanu-pf mumpties.

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    Greyhora 7 years ago

    Robertson is right! The Chinese are deeply entrenched in mining our diamonds, why would they want to relinquish that foothold? More transparency in would benefit Zimbabwe but we all know Zanu PF don’t care about what benefits the nation, that is why the status quo will remain!

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    Africanson 7 years ago

    I see no reason why you should insult me or judge my intellect. If I am free to say my opinion why should you use insults. Does it mean every sentiment, that is opposed to you deserves insulting. My inability can only be measured by my peers who have read my accomplishments and done projects with me. My knowledge academic qualifications may too little to you but I am happy with myself hence my ability to be attached by same whites you glorify on international projects. Insulting people you are opposed to Michael is something not to brag about. You can still use simple english if you idea is to educate oppose.

  • comment-avatar
    michael 7 years ago

    Africanson
    You drag your ‘arguments’ into a racially biased state, bigotry. This reduces the validity or merits in your line of reasoning by a factor of 10. You mentioned Uhuru Kenyatta, in a recent press statement regarding the terrorist attack on the Mall, his opening words were; “Kenya is a multiethnic country” (not a direct quote).

    If that had happened in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s opening statement would be something like; “Zimbabwe is MINE and mine alone, if you are dark skinned and opposed to me then you are an enemy of the state and should leave MY country. If you are ‘white’, I hate you, I hate you, and I will take everything from you and force you to leave through threats, torture, imprisonment and disenfranchisement of your birth right (indigenisation)”. Africanson can you appreciate the difference? Are you able to visualise how these two statement would be perceived by free thinking people across the globe? Investors????

    Only someone whom is benefiting from diamond revenue would attack those that are trying to expose the theft of this resource. Please in your own words explain to me where the vast revenue from the sale of diamond has gone, because it most certainly did not end up in the state coffers where it belongs.