GOVERNMENT’S order stopping companies from mining diamonds is of no consequence to the ordinary person save for the loss of jobs that will emanate from the decision. Cynics will ask rhetorically: “Whose mining companies?”
The discovery and the ultimate mining of the diamonds in Marange never benefited the fiscus and inevitably the people of Zimbabwe except the privileged few who are part of the mining syndicate. Former Finance minister Tendai Biti made the nation aware that there was no revenue from diamonds flowing into the fiscus. His attempt to get revenue from the diamond fields was met with ridicule and scorn. Not that there was no mining going on, but because a coterie of the well-connected and politicians were involved in ensuring that nothing gets to the people.
For the people of Chiadzwa in Marange, the diamonds are a curse more than a blessing. They caused their relocation and drew them deeper into poverty. They now have to endure how it feels to be poor in the middle of plenty. Like the biblical Lazarus, the people of Zimbabwe could only watch the powerful feast at the diamonds table. There were no crumbs for the poor from this table.
The heavy security at the diamond mines, as the cynics would put it, was not there to protect a national resource, but to prevent the peeping Thomases from catching a glimpse of the scam taking place within those mines.
What happened with the diamonds is typical of Africa where national resources are mismanaged into a few individuals’ pockets. The question that will always remain in people’s minds is: “Where did the money from the diamonds go to?” To me, it is a legitimate question that the government should answer.
The news about diamonds today, to the ordinary Zimbabwean, is as abstract as the biblical Jerusalem. It is like hearing news from a remote corner of the globe because those who are in charge severed the connection between the people and this lucrative national resource. They personalised it. It would be very interesting to know whose companies are being ordered to stop the mining operations. We are not talking bout the dummies here, but the real owners who pocket the millions from these companies.
Today we are told that alluvial diamonds are finished and these mines have no capacity to go deeper. What a joke! Were these investors or panners? Is this not embarrassing? Or is it that the mining companies were nothing, but a conduit for looting and because the looting spree is over, they can be dispensed with? There is nothing to show at national level that we once had an abundance of the precious mineral in alluvial form. Rather, we have rising poverty, unemployment and a practically broke government.
Perhaps the “closure” of the companies has nothing to do with diamonds, but politics since the ugly infighting in government over power is marked by vindictiveness. Since the government crafts, announces and implements its policies in one day, this gives political enemies the chance to close down each other’s businesses. We should never forget that in our country, like elsewhere in Africa, our economic decisions are based on politics and not the other way round.
Politics is premised on dishonesty, greed, the desire to loot, individualism, murder, etc. As a result, we see economic decisions that are premised on looting resources like diamonds, greed, dishonest policies as it were and, who knows, murder.
Given such a background, the ordinary men and women of Zimbabwe would care less if the diamond companies close or if the diamonds sink back to the core of the earth beyond the reach of man to join their molten brothers and sisters.
l Kamurai Mudzingwa writes in his personal capacity. Feedback: email@example.com