Counting the cost of Zimbabwe’s ‘blood diamonds’
Mutare, a nest of spies and paranoia in Zimbabwe’s wild east, is the latest corner of Africa to discover the corrupting power of diamonds. The nearby Marange fields contain deposits claimed to be worth billions of dollars, potentially making the crisis-torn country one of the world’s top diamond producers.
Some glimpse the promise of economic salvation and the prospect that Zimbabwe could be transformed from sick of man of Africa into a new Botswana. So far, however, the gemstones have been more curse than blessing, seducing desperate and avaricious Zimbabweans and foreign mercenaries with horrific consequences. This has been described as the biggest test yet of the Kimberley process certification scheme, created a decade ago to stamp out the use of diamonds to fund conflicts.