HomeOpinionMuckraker: Of diamonds, ambiguity and presidential insults

Muckraker: Of diamonds, ambiguity and presidential insults

THE Herald on Wednesday told us the ministerial delegation from the Association of African Diamond-Producing Countries wants diamonds from Chiadzwa to be allowed on the market so the nation could benefit from the revenue generated from the sales.

We have no problems with the delegation’s desire to see the revenue from the diamond sales benefitting restive Zimbabweans.
But we would have wanted The Herald reporter who accompanied the delegation, to also collect the views of the villagers from Chiadzwa.
They surely could have told him that they were still to see any benefits so far.
They could have probably told the Herald the Chinese company granted rights in Chiadzwa is hiring Chinese nationals to do even menial jobs. We would have wanted to hear them speak on what they think about the people who have turned their villages into red-light districts.
Remarks by the delegation’s head on human rights abuses at Chiadzwa were curious.
Nobody told South Africa’s Mineral Resources Minister, Susan Shabangu, that prior to their tour of Chiadzwa, the army had conducted a violent “cleanup” campaign that included raiding busy business centres – rounding up and beating up innocent people who had nothing to do with the activities at the fields.
Addressing villagers in Chiadzwa after touring operations by Canadile Miners and Mbada Holdings yesterday, minister Shabangu said companies operating in Marange should be allowed to sell their diamonds.
“We are here to check. If it is not true (that there are human rights abuses) we can support the companies to be allowed to sell their diamonds.
“We are here to assist Zimbabwe to ensure that sanctions placed on diamonds can be removed if those allegations are not true,” minister Shabangu said.
Why did she not ask the villagers she addressed about the human rights situation in Chiadzwa?  The answers were right in front of her.

Still on diamonds, thanks to Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe for reminding our leaders on how the revenue from diamonds sales could assist in developing the country.
“There is no doubt that diamond sales will add value to country’s revenue but this money should not go into the hands of individuals,” Hawkins, a UZ professor of Business Studies  (isn’t he the Dean?) was quoted by an online publication.

‘The diamond industry should be nationalised. They (diamonds) ought to be in the hands of the state and revenue should be ring-fenced and be channelled into the construction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, housing stands, hospitals and schools.”
Right, Tony. Finance minister Tendai Biti has complained US$30 million from previous diamond sales vanished without trace.
Mines minister Obert Mpofu was quick to deny that, claiming not even a dime had left the country, but we are comforted by the fact that President Mugabe knows better as he publicly made reference to the disappearing gems last week. Is that not a glaring contradiction?
“Diamonds should not be pocketed by some individuals. They should help to
improve the whole country. Those with an appetite for individual aggrandisement please blunt your appetite,” President Mugabe said two weeks ago while burying his sister Sabina.
Thanks for the acknowledgement; we now wait your action Mr President. We also hope the nation will not be misled about the revenue that will go to treasury from the diamond sales.

And why do we continue to see glaring contradictions within Zanu PF?
While President Mugabe and other leaders were preaching unity and peace at the Heroes’ Acre on Monday, a leader of a faction of the war veterans, Jabulani Sibanda, was reportedly threatening to “swat out”  the life of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
While addressing villagers at Mashoko business centre in Bikita, Sibanda reportedly equated the PM to “a fly” that could “easily be eliminated” from the political scene if need arose.
Sibanda’s remarks were reported as President Mugabe accused the European Union and other Western countries of not forthcoming in his attempts to re-engage them.
“We seek friendship not enmity, togetherness not apartness, good understanding not division,” President Mugabe said at Heroes Acre. “But no sooner had we started the re-engagement than we realised that the EU is far from being sincere, as the bloc keeps shifting goalposts.”
Can someone tell the President that the EU and other Western countries can embrace him only if he demonstrates his genuineness in implementing the Global Political Agreement. If he could for example rein-in his party’s “mad dogs” that go threatening to kill people at every opportunity.
When rogue elements go about threatening other partners in the inclusive government and when a national broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, continues to defy the inclusive cabinet by playing propaganda jingles that makes a mockery of the GPA then sincerity may remain difficult to cultivate by the other parties.

South African President Jacob Zuma must have drawn comfort from the numbers after a close associate of Swaziland’s King Mswati, former Justice minister Ndumiso Mamba was caught holed up in a hotel room by state security agents. Apparently, the former minister burrowed into the base of a bed and slid in after security agents stormed the Royal Villas, a luxury hotel owned by the polygamous 42-year-old King, about 10km west of his Lozitha Palace. Mamba had been having a nice time with King Mswati III’s 12th wife, Queen Nothando Dube. The red-faced childhood friend of the King was ordered out, head first, by the security agents who are believed to have been investigating his sex trysts with the 12th of the King’s 14 wives.
Mamba was immediately arrested and faces the odd-sounding charge of “trespassing into another man’s home”. He is expected to be finally exiled from Swaziland. It has been claimed that Dube wore an elaborate disguise so she could enjoy clandestine meetings with Mamba, who is married. The queen is said to have dressed in military fatigues to leave the royal palace without arousing suspicion. Zuma must have been comforted by the knowledge that his wife, Nompumelelo, was not the only one straying from the polygamous matrimonial bed. Zuma’s 35-year-old second wife also allegedly frolicked with a bodyguard earlier this year, much to the distress of Msholozi.

Just why does poor old Tafataona Mahoso think diplomats should take insults from President Mugabe lying down?
He has taken issue with US ambassador Charles Ray for leading “a bunch of clueless Caucasian representatives of Greece, Germany and the European Union out of the national shrine before the end of proceedings”.
Mahoso said the walkout was supposed to be a public demonstration against the speech of President Mugabe, the main bereaved relative of the deceased.
Does Mahoso not remember Zanu PF MPs walking out of parliament protesting against criticisms against the Dear Leader?
The Zanu PF MPs stormed out of parliament after an MP from the MDC-T said the 1980s Gukurahundi killings in the Matabeleland region should be investigated along with the June 2008 election violence.
Why does Mahoso think it is good for Zanu PF MPs to walk out of parliament in protest when they feel angered but at the same time diplomats should withstand insults from President Mugabe?
Does he also need to be reminded of our own diplomat in Ambassador’s Charles Ray’s country who not only walked out but shouted abuses at his hosts in the process? We did not hear of any summoning or demands of apology.
Can someone remind Mahoso that what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

Who on earth was responsible for the monumental snafu that Zimbabwe caused world-wide by staging a “drill” allegedly involving the terrorist high-jacking of a Jumbo jet, resulting in the putative death of several innocent passengers and serious injury to many more?
Reacting to statements from highly placed civil servants who should have known better, “news” of the alleged incident was flashed around the world’s newspapers and electronic media networks, resulting in mass panic among relatives of folk flying into, out of or over this country at about the relevant time.
While we are sure “someone” has already had clumsy knuckles well and truly rapped over this appalling incident, it may well spoil that person’s breakfast to learn that at least one New York-based-based news agency which chartered a flight from Lanseria to Charles Prince to cover the “carnage” is almost certainly about to begin litigation to recover R80 000 in charter fees and insurance it committed itself to after a local Civil Aviation Authority spokesman mendaciously confirmed there were wall-to-wall bodies, blood running and unmitigated chaos at Harare Airport following a “terrorist atrocity”.
Can we remind those who apparently dreamt the whole thing up and rejoiced in hogging the limelight about the little boy who cried “Wolf”!  just once too often? And why was the prisons service  so prominently involved, anyway?

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