Mugabe must clarify precious diamond income plundering :
ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe’s claim a week ago that $15 billion was plundered 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 the people of Zimbabwe are now demanding accountability.
$15 billion is a ton of money and it could have gone a long way in removing Zimbabwe from its economic crisis 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.
Nigerian adage says when a leopard wants to eat its young ones, it first accuses them of possessing a scent reminiscent of goats and we fear Mugabe’s statement was meant to legitimise the closure of the Chiadzwa diamond fields and shut the diamond organizations 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 apparition that, if for sure these organizations had plundered so much, they had the gift and the insurance of the legislature.
At the point when previous Finance clergyman Tendai Biti raised assertions that precious stone cash was not advancing toward Treasury, he was blamed for lying and political rent looking for conduct. After three years he has been vindicated, however at what expense to the legislature?
The administration’s hands are not clean and Mugabe must make a move instead of simply accusing the mining organizations that now resemble the advantageous fall folks.