Former South African President Thabo Mbeki should be commended for his insightful, factual and uplifting speech at the Diamond Conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe last week.
The former SADC Facilitator in the protracted political wrangle between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T did not mince his words, telling the delegates that the West had imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe to punish it for its progressive land reform programme.
Thabo Mbeki, who traced the bumpy and tortuous road of the land reform programme in Zimbabwe, noted that the programme was necessary to remedy the colonial injustice that had reduced Blacks to paupers in their native land as they had been relocated to unproductive land by the colonialists who invaded the country in 1890.
Indeed, and it must be stressed that the raison d’etre of the armed struggle in Zimbabwe was land, not racism.
Thabo Mbeki said the West decided to label Zimbabwe a rogue state to hit back against the land reform programme which was designed to economically empower the marginalized Blacks.
The land reform programme registered a high degree of success which must be taken into consideration when one looks at the recent discovery of diamonds in Marange district in Manicaland province of the former British colony.
The discovery of diamonds has fast tracked the government’s economic empowerment programme.
Thabo Mbeki said the West took offence at the subsequent certification of the diamonds by the Kimberley Process after Zimbabwean authorities had complied with all the international requirements in the sale of diamonds.
The West, led by the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on those diamonds on the world market to deny the people of Zimbabwe money from their own resources.
They used lame excuses like the lack of human rights—-as if colonialism did not breach the human rights for the Africans.
Thabo Mbeki Speaks the Truth
Thabo Mbeki said: “It was perfectly clear to the political leadership in Southern Africa that the determination by some countries in the world to effect regime change in Zimbabwe had to do with fundamentally undermining and weakening the historically and strategically important right of the people of Africa to self-determination.”
Well said Thabo Mbeki. It was a show of great Pan- Africanism from one of Africa’s great statesmen.
For the record, Zimbabwe has the potential of producing between 110 and 160 million carats of diamonds a year, bringing in the much needed revenue to revamp the ailing economy.
As noted by the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Mugabe at the Diamond Conference, the country’s diamonds were being sold at: “depressed prices because of a negative buyer perception resulting from illegal economic sanctions imposed by the EU, the USA and Australia.”
The bottom-line is that the West should be ashamed of its morbid hatred for the government’s noble goal of economically empowering the majority of people who for long had stagnated in underdevelopment brought upon them by a system steeped in the misplaced and preposterous belief of White supremacy.
There is need, therefore, for fair play in the marketing of Zimbabwe’s diamonds to economically empower the Black majority as is happening in the land reform programme.
It is better for the gems to benefit a few Blacks than a few Whites who for long have reaped where they did not sow on this Black continent.
By John Gambanga