ROBERT Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s emphatic victory in the July 31 elections have undoubtedly precipitated and inflicted a landslide of serious fissures in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Mugabe, renowned for taking head-on the bullying super power states and so-called first world countries on international fora such as the United Nations, masterminded a serious diplomatic coup in KPCS. To date, KPCS is divided into two: pro or anti-Mugabe and his gigantic diamond deposits in Marange.
Fundamentally, the de-certification and recertification of diamond mining companies operating in Marange influenced the jurisprudence of the KPCS protocol. At the core of the KPCS fissures is the issue of the proposed reformation of its statutes, especially the definition of conflict diamonds, revenue transparency, human rights and the maintenance of international best practice.
The current fight is so huge but Zimbabwe had become the defacto voice of weaker member states that are handicapped to oppose the neo-imperialist agenda of United States of America and the European Union.
In the past five years, Mugabe commanded his Zimbabwe delegation to fight hard for Zimbabwe to be allowed to exercise its United Nations enshrined right of sovereignty over its natural resources in the KPCS.
The question is, will the newly-appointed Mines Minister Walter Chidakwa be able to lead from the front and defend Zimbabwe’s voice? Does Chidakwa have the political wherewithal to stand up to the shenanigans of the shrewd USA department of Treasury and defend Zimbabwe’s turf? How tough talking will Walter Chidakwa be? Did Mugabe put Chidakwa in the deep end?
Taunted by Mugabe as a hard-working and honest young man, Chidakwa has a corruption free background and an impressive resume. Born in 1963, Chidakwa did his primary and secondary education at Kutama schools and later obtained his Masters in Political Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and another Masters in International Relations at the University of Zimbabwe.
Chidakwa worked in the Ministry of Finance, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Export Processing Zones Authority between 1996 and 2007. He was elected Member of Parliament for Zvimba in 2008. He joined the liberation struggle in 1978.
One of the main issues that have remained topical in the KPCS is the conduct of member states in ensuring that there is transparency in the deployment of diamond receipts. The marauding civic society groups in the KPCS have written reports pregnant with malicious and false allegation of diamond plundering by senior Zanu PF leadership. It seems Mugabe’s decision to appoint Chidakwa was strategic in that regard.Advertisement
It is apparent that Chidakwa’s work has been well cut out for him. As the head of the Zimbabwe KPCS delegation, he is expected to continue fighting attempts by western member states to cause a deformation of the KPCS through the reformation process. The proposed reformation is simply a deliberate effort to re-certify Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, DMC and Marange.
This fight is heavily funded by De Beers who once owned the vast Marange diamond deposits single handedly. Commercially, it is dangerous for De Beers to let Marange Diamonds trade freely without them being given access to buy by Mugabe. De Beers will lose control of its worldwide diamond cartel. The ghost of Cecil John Rhodes, founder of De Beers, remains charging in front of us determined to control the biggest diamond deposit. This will be the first time since the formation of De Beers that they have failed to control a diamond potent area.
Speculation is rife within the KPCS that Zimbabwe has several other alluvial and Kimberlitic diamond deposits. In 2008, Canada put a spirited fight to ensure that Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond mining operations were halted and put under KPCS monitoring. Immediately, Mugabe proposed a well-received joint working plan, which included, inter alia, the carrying of Aero Magnetic survey of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth.
Surprisingly, Canada immediately volunteered to give a free grant of US$30m to fund that exercise. The intention of the Canadian was very apparent. They wanted to know the extent of Zimbabwe diamond deposit endowment in order to predetermine future diamond prices and ensure that their own mining companies get a stake.
The status quo in the KPCS is that the poor but diamond rich African countries continue to be subjected to a crude oversight by the Western-sponsored civic society, led by a one Alan Martin. Exportation of rough diamonds by African countries without value addition is never attended to as a challenge in the KPCS. Powerful KPCS member states continue to profiteer from this skewed situation where a diamond is exported at US$50 per carat, but will cost ten times more when it has been polished.
Mugabe, addressing delegates at the Victoria Falls International Diamond Conference, queried why the same phenomenon of raw exportation of minerals that is as old as the Scramble for Africa continues to subsist to date. He challenged ministers of mines of African diamond producing countries to immediately establish diamond polishing and cutting industries in Africa so that jeweler hubs are found in Africa.
Chidakwa has a mammoth task to deliver on this one desire of his boss. He appears to have competence in this regard, as he is credited with initiating value addition in the former Export Processing Zones.
Renewed efforts to ensure that the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) starts to re-certify diamond exports using a criteria running parallel with the KPCS is likely to give Chidakwa sleepless nights. OECD, whose members states are western countries, is being used to ensure that Zimbabwe diamonds fail to get market access in the European Union despite attaining the KP Certification and even if the European Union sanctions are removed.
This devilish organisation is a carefully structured barrier to trade for poor countries that are not subservient to western countries.
Mugabe’s election victory will mean that USA’s future proposals in the KPCS will continue to be vetoed by Zimbabwe until the superpower removes sanctions on this small but mineral rich country. USA is expected to make compromises or first lobby for Zimbabwe in crucial decisions in the KPCS.
The election results have created another new problem for the USA in the KPCS as Zimbabwe is expected to vote for the suspension of the USA in the KPCS following a damning report made during a review mission led by India. The USA’s internal control systems were found to be in “shambles and decadent”. This report is expected to be presented at the next KPCS November 2013 plenary.
It must be clear to all and sundry that the KPCS matrix plays a crucial role in the USA, EU and Canada accepting the July 31 elections as free, fair and generally credible. It has nothing to do with the voters roll, alleged bussing of voters or any other charges made by the MDC-T.
Tafadzwa Musarara is the chairman of the Resources Exploitation Watch. You can contact him on email@example.com