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Wikileak Refocuses Attention on Rights Violations in Zimbabwe Diamond Field

  • Tatenda Gumbo

A US diplomatic cable describes the illicit diamond trade alleged to have led to the murder of hundreds of Zimbabweans as the military consolidated its control over the Marange diamond field in 2008

A US diplomatic communication released by Wikileaks concerning Zimbabwe have refocused attention on human rights violations alleged to have occurred in the country's Marange diamond field in 2008 as its military consolidated control over the area.

The November 2008 communication from the US Embassy in Harare states that, "In a country filled with corrupt schemes, the diamond one of the dirtiest."

The cable said President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace, and other associates "have been extracting tremendous profits" from the alluvial diamond field in the Chiadzwa communal area of Marange district, Manicaland province.

The diplomatic communication also implicated Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono as a key figure in the illicit trade in diamonds at one stage, printing Zimbabwean dollars in large amounts (before the debased currency was abandoned in 2009) to purchase diamonds from wildcat miners which were then subsequently sold abroad.

The US cable refers to reports of the Zimbabwean military depositing more than 200 bodies at mortuaries in Mutare, capital of Manicaland province, the victims shot to death, some bearing the marks of dog bites. That information squares with VOA reporting at the time quoting Mutare officials expressing shock and dismay at the gruesome deliveries.

Alan Martin, research director with Partnership Africa-Canada, said the cable tends to support concerns that organizations inside Zimbabwe and abroad have been expressing for years about the gravity and scope of human rights violations in Marange.

Martin told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the US cable should function as a wake-up call to Kimberly Process Certification Scheme officials who have declined to firmly link approval of Marange diamond sales to action on such rights issues.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the leaked cable raises serious concerns about the transparency of Zimbabwe's diamond industry.

further wikileaks documents regarding zimbabwe are sheding light on the human rights violations that occurred at the marange fields. The dipolmatic cables cite the illict diamond trade which led to the murder of thousands after military intensified control of the fields in 2008, enriching those close to president robert mugabe.

As reported by studio 7, mutate city officials reported being brought bodies for burial by military, the cables release have re-opened international view on any human rights violations at the marange fields.

Alan martin, research director with partnership africa-canada says the release of the cables beings validation that organizations within zimbabwe and the international community have been arguing about violations that occured at marange. Martin tells reporter tatenda gumbo; these cables should act as a wake up call to officials with the kimberly process.

political analyst charles mangongera says the views on the cables were made by the u-s officials are analysis’ and raise concerns about the transparency of the diamond industry in zimbabwe. He says the international community will be watching to see what policy changes zimbabwe makes.