KP’s Lingering RelevancyAugust 06, 09
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) chair and relevant Working Monitoring Committee has been bending over backwards to find excuses for not suspending Zimb
Part of the reluctance, which I have shared previously, specifically stems from the Rio Tinto Murowa diamond mine, a mine which greatly contributes to thousands of employees, their families and the wider communities in which they operate. Suspending Zimb
However in the past few months, the Zimb
Previously, there had been an argument reasoning that the Zimb
That argument doesn’t hold true anymore. The mounting evidence suggests that most of the atrocities are conducted by the government-controlled army. The evidence has become overwhelming and irrefutable. For example, when, in October 2008, Zimb
Demands by the KP for the military forces to withdraw from the diamond areas have been left unanswered; lame excuses are given. Mining Minister Obert Mpofu claims that there are ongoing talks to attract a foreign investor to the diamond field areas, and that once the deal is done, the investor would have to secure the area by themselves. That’s ridiculous – and a proven formula for more bloodshed. It is almost as if Zimbabwe’s government wants to “privatize” the task of restoring law and order, a task which is nearly impossible in a country that has neither.
Foreign Investors: Be Careful!
Moreover, bringing in new foreign investors will lead to court actions by other claim owners. It is reminiscent of the war days in the DRC, where various parties claimed to own exploitation rights on the very same deposits. In the current mess, one of the players is the AIM-listed African Consolidated Resources (ACR), which claims ownership to several parts of the Marange area. ACR, headed by a white Zimb
Within the KP, there is an unmanage
I don’t believe that any formal decisive action is imminent. The Zimb
But pressure on the KP to do something is increasingly mounting. This pressure is being exerted by other members, NGOs and even the international diamond industry represented by the World Diamond Council. There is talk, for example of a symbolic six-month suspension, which, on its own, will solve nothing. We have argued in our columns that nothing can be gained from Zimbabwe’s suspension from the KP – as it will neither stop the smuggling nor end atrocities and will only hurt Murowa’s stakeholders.
But now the issue has changed. Politics have evolved in such a way that not expelling Zimb
Sadly, what happens in Zimb
The NGO, Global Witness, stated it accurately “This is a litmus test for the scheme's credibility. If member governments fail to take prompt and effective action by suspending Zimb
The situation on the ground is exceedingly complex. Don’t expect an early suspension of Zimbabwe from the KP. But if it were to happen, it would not change anything in the mining areas – except for pushing Rio Tinto to close their Murowa mine. If the government were to remove its armed forces from the Marange fields, the soldiers and generals would be back in dressed in different clothes, and they would continue their lucrative diamond business. And should a miracle happen, and somehow law and order were to be restored, investors and claim holders would continue to duel in court rooms.
The mess is gigantic. The KP will not make any difference – it lost its chance. The organization seems to have outlived its own usefulness but may postpone its own demise by acting decisively now.