President Robert Mugabe lied about the alleged theft of diamonds worth $15 billion from Chiadzwa mines to justify the forced merger of mining companies, a shadowy state media columnist claimed yesterday.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Nathaniel Manheru, exposed by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo to be Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, claimed the soon-to-be 93-year-old leader made the stunning confession during one of their briefings.
Charamba acknowledged that he risked blowing his cover by making the extra-ordinary confession.
Mugabe made the claims that seemed to tally with observations by local and foreign human rights groups that there was looting on a large scale after diamonds were discovered in Chiadzwa. He made the claims in an interview with ZBC in February last year.
“I have a great disclosure to make, even at the risk of contravening a sacred act signed and [that] am sworn to,” Charamba wrote.
He said Mugabe had a chat with him and another person responsible for informing the “great one” about the missing diamonds and he was told that it was a lie.
“What is more, a disclosure that risks blowing my cover as a columnist — by now yet another illusion!
“Here I go: It’s a fine Monday morning, and we are having a prayer with the great one,” he said.
“Then a great conversation started: ‘Sir, this claim that we lost $15 billion worth of diamonds?’
Great, cacophonous laughter from The Great One,” Charamba added.
“What $15bn, young man? What was the value of rough diamonds traded worldwide last year?”
“Another roaring laughter! ‘About $14 comma something billion, Sir!’ ‘So-ooo!?#*£¥€? Yet another round of reckless laughter. Then the bombshell: ‘Figure …that is a figure I just mentioned so that it might sound tarrying kikikiki!’ ‘Ahh shefu, (ahh boss), now you have caused a problem for us with the opposition.’”
Charamba added: “More laughter! ‘that’s for you to deal with. I wanted to dramatise the need for us to take total control of our diamond resource; to ensure full accountability of its exploitation, and I achieved the national focus I wanted.
“The change that’s necessary. Where else in the world is a strategic mineral reposed in foreigners? Where? Another round of laughter, even more raucous. Palaver finish!”
Mugabe’s disclosure that the diamonds were looted triggered public outcry, with opposition parties calling for his impeachment.
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti during his tenure always claimed that diamond revenue was being looted, but he was dismissed by the Zanu PF side in the inclusive government.
Zanu PF treasurer Obert Mpofu was the Mines minister at the time.