The Kimberly Process’s decision to allow the Marange diamonds to be sold on the global market may be financing more violence. The controversial diamonds have been mined by companies managed by the dreaded police that President Robert Mugabe controls.
Critics say that Global Witness, a human rights watchdog had documented inhumane work conditions at these mines and despite that the Kimberly Process has granted them the permission to sell these blood diamonds. Global Witness says the sale proceeds from these diamonds will fuel even more bloodshed as they will likely help to fund electoral violence that will be seen in the upcoming Presidential elections.
Anjin Investments, a Chinese-owned diamond mining company, has been awarded the rights to mine at the controversial Marange diamond fields in Eastern Zimbabwe. However the high ranking members of security service teams that Mugabe has used in electoral fraud and political violence in previous elections are part owners of the company.
Another such mining company, Mbada Diamonds which is also allowed to mine in the Marange diamond fields is owned by Air Vice Marshal Robert Mhlang, a man believed to be Mugabe’s personal pilot. These facts were highlighted in the Global Witness report but as the Kimberly Process took no note of them, the human rights watchdog was forced to denounce and quit the Kimberly Process.
Nick Donovan, a senior campaigner at Global Witness went so far as to say that Zimbabwe desperately needs diamond revenues for health and education services, not AK47s and flash cars for the elite. If the next election is accompanied by violence there’s a real risk that any bloodshed will be funded by diamond revenues he added.