Zimbabwe is not a rogue country
By Tichaona Zindoga,
Those who convened the inaugural Zimbabwe Diamond Conference in Victoria Falls in the last two days will no doubt be satisfied with how the event panned out. The biggest thing, demonstrably, is that it constituted a major diplomatic coup that Zimbabwe, in its quest to lawfully and rightfully exploit its diamonds, will savour for a long time to come.
And the conference’s significance to Zimbabwe and its politics and economy and in relation to the world, can be demonstrated in at least six ways.
Consider, in the first instance, the coup in bringing together about all the players in the diamond industry from across the globe, including veritable opponents of Zimbabwe.
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme chair American Gillian Milovanovic was there and addressed the conference.
This was significant in that the diplomat had an opportunity to visit the country that is often portrayed in horror colour, which presentation, especially when carried to the rabid and viral proportions, may have tended to colour her judgment on Zimbabwe.
And she would hobnob with the same “Dracula” of the horror diamond stories of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe, who on Monday significantly portrayed the cool, reasonable and fatherly statesman that he is, which the Western media and their local lackeys so conveniently ignore.
President Mugabe talked of Zimbabwe’s commitment to the tenets of clean diamonds, espoused by the KP and the need to sustainably develop the sector, as demanded by Zimbabwe’s economy. And he showed his humane side talking about girls who take the husbands of women who happen to flaunt diamond rings.
“We have the men and you have the rings,” the hubby snatchers would tell the hapless women, in President Mugabe’s life-inspired joke. President Mugabe is an ordinary man, who has been a teacher in Ghana.
His infectiousness should surely have disarmed the uninformed scaremongering the man is subjected to by Western media and “diamond activists” (whatever they are), which scaremongering would ultimately be applied to Zimbabwe’s diamonds on the market.
Judging by how the veteran leader carried himself on Monday, one tends to think that if Matabeleland North Governor Thokhozile Mathuthu had seriously decided to add to the world’s “natural wonders”, as she did, a more appropriate addition would be President Mugabe himself!
And in light of the myths of a rogue Zimbabwe and a rogue president being dispelled, spirited attempts to further discredit Zimbabwe simply fell through.
One could not help but see the fatuity of Milovanovic’s continued but ill-fated thrust to redefine blood diamonds in an effort to extend a long arm that would catch up with Zimbabwe. She put up a finicky argument of how outdated the current definition was and how it needed to go with current trends.
Of course, the current trend and global best practice is to nail and stymie Zimbabwe and other small, self-determining countries! This brings to the fore the other significant aspect of Monday: that of ex-South African President Thabo Mbeki.
He especially said in jurisprudence, laws must not be made and applied to specific individuals or states; laws must have general application.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with Zimbabwe.
The South African statesman highlighted that Zimbabwe was being treated harshly by some quarters, he avoided saying the West, since embarking on the land reform – which has been a success in reclaiming African people’s stolen heritage.
But the diamond conference showed one distressing thing about Zimbabwe’s politics.
Hosting such a landmark conference will have presented an opportunity for the leaders of this country to demonstrate unity of purpose in pursuit of national interest. Diamond is a national asset, to which everyone in the country has been looking up to.
It is contributing so much revenue and has trumped other mining sub-sectors. And where was Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Ministers of Economic Planning, Industry, and Finance?
Monday was made to coincide with the launch of the so-called Medium-Term Plan in Harare, where the Prime Minister was.
Is this evidence of the so-called dysfunctionality of the inclusive Government, where basically the left hand does not know what the right hand will be doing?
And is it not in the public domain that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T has been weaving stories of looting and military sponsorship from the proceeds of the diamonds?
The same military being said to be a machine for violence and election rigging and possibility of a coup?
And the discredited Partnership Africa Canada helpfully told us that the Marange diamonds had seen “the biggest plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes.”
So Rhodes’ villainy has to be brought up where convenient, huh? And so well off his heroism as a pioneer and one whose exploits have immensely benefited the West. Connected to the division of the national leadership is the media coverage of the official opening of the conference.
Yesterday, only The Herald saw the significance of the ground-breaking conference as deserving prominence as the paper highlighted the Government’s measures in unlocking the value of diamonds.
The diversionary attitude of the other papers in relation to the diamond conference belies the fact that in other times, the so-called independent media will be at the forefront of calling for transparency of finger-pointing at abuses.
So much about “Unlocking Zimbabwe’s Diamond Together”!
But there are other significant statements that were made on Monday that should make the conveners of the meeting quite happy.
Think of Minister Mpofu telling the world that De Beers is a looter and spent 15 years taking diamonds from Zimbabwe all in the name of exploration.
Think of the paradox that the world sat back and said all was well when there was chaos in Marange, but cracked the whip on Zimbabwe when Government moved to stop plunder and chaos.
He also highlighted that the local NGOs opposed to the sale of Zimbabwe diamonds were wholly funded by foreign governments, making them government departments – or even more – because some of the government departments were not so slush with cash.
Think of Minister Mpofu telling the world that David Livingstone did not invent or discover the Victoria Falls, except to misname the famous natural wonder and that he was shown there by a black man who true to the hospitality of this part of the world carried Livingstone on the shoulders to see the famous smoke-that-thunders.
The hosting of the diamond conference, as a prelude to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly next year, sets the tone for Zimbabwe to set the record straight.
Zimbabwe is not a rogue country.
Those that have eyes have seen and will no doubt see.