Robert Mugabe's bloody diamond deal with China
Jimmy Carter's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young once remarked that "the only thing that frustrates me about Robert Mugabe is that he is so damned incorruptible." After his election as president of the newly independent nation of Zimbabwe in 1980, Jimmy Carter hosted a reception for Mugabe at the White House. To Carter, Young and their fellow liberals the Marxist ex-guerrilla represented the sort of leader that they believed would bring a new era of hope and change to the downtrodden people of Zimbabwe.
For many years the famine plagued children in southeastern Zimbabwe used the small, hard stones common to the region in their home-made slings and catapults to hunt birds for food. When it was learned that the stones were actually diamonds, the rush was on. People from all walks of life were drawn to the remote fields of Marange hoping to escape the crippling poverty and starvation that has gripped their country since Robert Mugabe came to power.
Buried in the soil of southeastern Zimbabwe is an unimaginable wealth in diamonds which could easily transform the poverty stricken nation into a thriving, modern and affluent society. When word of the miraculous discovery reached President Mugabe, the incorruptible leader wasted no time in sending troops to Marange to secure the diamond fields for the benefit of his regime.
According to Andrew Malone of the UK Daily Mail, Mugabe's soldiers acted in "characteristically brutal fashion, shooting hundreds of people, setting Alsatian dogs on others and raping women and children." Mugabe's forces drove out the poor unarmed prospectors and seized control of the region. "Today, the fields are a military zone-and anyone caught there faces being beaten to death."
Unable to properly exploit the vast wealth from the diamond fields, the Mugabe regime quietly entered into an agreement with China. Malone writes.
Working alongside henchmen from one of Africa's most murderous regimes-headed by Robert Mugabe-the Chinese are here to oversee Beijing's investment in the world's most controversial commodity: blood diamonds. High ranking officials of China's People's Liberation Army, they have been striving to escape detection for their role in this blood thirsty-but highly lucrative trade.
For here, carved out of the African bush, is a runway big enough for huge cargo planes. There is also sophisticated radar equipment, a fully operational control tower and comfortable barracks for the Chinese officials overseeing the entire operation.
Cargo planes bring in men and arms from China and leave with large quantities of rough uncut diamonds. The Chinese and their co-conspirators in Mugabe's military, force the locals to mine the diamonds at gunpoint under the most appalling of conditions. The Marange fields have been surrounded by three individual fences and a number of military outposts to ensure that the flow of diamonds and information will be kept under complete control of the regime. A local villager told Andrew Malone that.
Soldiers set their dogs on one girl, who was mauled and killed in front of her parents. The military said this was a warning to others to keep away from the fields; at least seven people caught near the fields were killed by the military in the last month alone and their bodies dumped.
Lucky Sibanda, a local man, showed me the wounds on his back where he was attacked by dogs after the military caught him by the fields. ‘These Chinese men have hard hearts,' he said. ‘They are taking away diamonds that could save this country. I hate them.'
The disclosures make a mockery of the Kimberley Process-the diamond watchdog set up in the wake of the diamond war in Sierra Leone-to allow Mugabe to sell gems from Marange-which is in the remotest, most inaccessible part of his impoverished nation.
In a secret meeting Andrew Malone met with "one of Mugabe's most senior intelligence chiefs" and learned that weapons acquired from the Chinese were being distributed to the military as they prepare for an aggressive new assault against the regime's opposition. The Zimbabwean official confirmed that the deal with China was "a government to government deal" and that "it has been signed at the highest level."
There is a memorandum of understanding between China and Zimbabwe-Beijing supplies weapons to us, and we allow them to mine diamonds.
Mocking the ‘monkeys in the West' who have been outraged by Mugabe's brutality, my source-a cold hearted killer-predicted that the diamond deal with Beijing would mean they could stay in power indefinitely.
‘You can write 1,000 stories, and print them 1,000 times, but it won't make any difference,' smirked the official. ‘We have all the diamonds, so we have all the weapons-and we kill anyone who tries to take anything from us.'
During the hour-long conversation, the intelligence source-whose identity I know, but who insisted I do not use his name or rank-also admitted that, without the Chinese pact, the ruling junta would have been driven from power. ‘But now we have all the guns we need,' he said.
Once the diamonds are flown to China, they are cut and graded. The best quality stones are sold to dealers in the Middle East and India where they make their way into the international diamond market. Lesser "commercial grade" diamonds remain in China where they are used for industrial applications to help feed their growing manufacturing sector.
Back in the impoverished nation of Zimbabwe, incorruptible President Robert Mugabe and his henchmen live like royalty in their palatial estates insulated from the sound of gunfire and the cries of starving children. Meanwhile Jimmy Carter has written another book about his presidency and continues to tell anyone who will listen, just how great he really is. Hey Jimmy how about telling us how you helped Robert Mugabe come to power.