Angolan Andre Diakite Jackson, head of the African Diamond Council (ADC), has lashed out at the Kimberly Process Certification System (KP) for being “ineffectual” and allowing Zimbabwean politicians to continue with their gross human rights violations.
He said the country’s current diamond dealings, which of late have been tainted by reports of gross human rights abuse, could frustrate many of its global benefactors adding that Zimbabwe’s behaviour regarding the diamond issue had exposed the vulnerability of the KP.
Jackson’s broadside comes at a time the country is expected to host a high-powered ADC delegation, comprising representatives from South Africa, DRC, Namibia, Mauritania and Sierra Leone.
The delegation is expected to tour the diamond fields this weekend.
The team’s visit coincides with that of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Review Mission led by Liberian Deputy Mines Minister Kpandel Fayia.
Abbey Chikane, the KP monitor, is leading the third KP delegation to Zimbabwe which is expected to certify the Chiadzwa diamonds.
The certification would allow the country to start exporting its diamonds on the international market.
Zimbabwe is desperate to off-load about six million carats of rough-cut diamonds worth about $2 billion, stockpiled over the months.
The money is urgently needed to resuscitate the ailing economy.
The KP agreed to partially certify the diamonds from Chiadzwa while monitoring the country’s compliance with its requirements.
Officials from ADC are expected to be part of the Chikane team.
The familiarisation visit comes at a time when government has launched a major emergency military and police operation aimed at ridding Chiadzwa of illicit diamond dealers.
Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire confirmed the impending visit by the three delegations at the weekend.
“We are going to have a busy weekend given the delegations that are coming into the country,” Chimanikire said.
The ADC head said government demonstrated its slyness by its manipulation of the KP diamond certification scheme.
“The system has failed to thwart trading of diamonds mined as a result of human consequence and although Zimbabwe’s current dealings and previous defiance may frustrate many of their global critics, the country has led the attack in exposing the vulnerability of the KP,” Jackson said in a statement.
“Gems lie near the surface of the ground and are easily collected by soldiers, smugglers and illegal miners who work for them.”
Government has persistently denied reports of human rights abuse and instead turned the heat on its perceived detractors.