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President Mugabe of Zimbabwe Threatens to Abandon Kimberly Diamond Scheme

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Harare recently accepted a Kimberley Process monitor from South Africa to oversee the mining and export of diamonds from the Marange field, where human rights abuses and illegal exports have been alleged

The longrunning controversy over diamonds from Zimbabwe's eastern Marange district was revived on Wednesday after President Robert Mugabe threatened to market the gems outside the Kimberly Certification Process.

Mr. Mugabe said Zimbabwe is trying to adhere to the Kimberley Process, but might step outside it if the demands for compliance are too onerous.

Harare recently accepted a Kimberley Process monitor from South Africa to oversee the mining and export of diamonds from the Marange field, where human rights abuses and illegal exports have been alleged.

Political analyst Dhewa Mavhinga of Human Rights Watch told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the threat by Mr. Mugabe indicated that the Marange diamond field has become a key funding source for his ZANU-PF party now that the Reserve Bank can no longer print money.

Elsewhere, Supreme Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has ordered Mines Minister Obert Mpofu to return diamonds he took from the Reserve Bank where the judge had ordered them kept until a mining rights case between African Consolidated Resources of London and Harare has been resolved.

Attorney Jonathan Samkange, representing African Consolidated Resources, told VOA's Jonga Kandemiiri the judgment was a positive development.

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