James McGee, the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe during its turmoil from 2007 to 2009, seemed to be observed with the country’s diamonds from Marange because he believed they were being used to prop up Mugabe’s patronage system.
His three cables released by Wikileaks so far are all on diamonds from Marange. When the military moved in and the government was expected to move about 20 000 people according to a local chief commented that the relocation of the villagers, if it occurred, was the next preparatory step by the government to use the Chiadzwa diamond fields to bail out the failed Zimbabwean economy and prop-up Mugabe.
“While we are highly sceptical of the success of that scheme, what is certain is that it would result in additional suffering for XXXXX residents,” the ambassador said.
McGee is supposed to have obtained his information from a local chief whose name and that of the area have been deleted from the cable, probably by Wikileaks as it is now under pressure to protect sources. But in this case, the deleted information is obvious because Norman Chiadzwa has already been widely reported about as Chief Chiadzwa and the current diamonds are being mined from Chiadzwa.
Here is the full cable:
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0051/01 0230942
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 230942Z JAN 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3957
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2572
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2694
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1185
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1963
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2318
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2743
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5171
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1861
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000051
AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2019
TAGS: EMIN ASEC PHUM ZI RS ECON PREL
SUBJECT: MILITARY PLANS TO DISPLACE THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS
REF: A. HARARE 49
¶B. HARARE 24
¶C. 08 HARARE 1035
¶D. 08 HARARE 1016
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (SBU) In mid-January, a local chief in the diamond rich
and violence-ridden XXXXXXXXXXXX
informed us of the Zimbabwean military’s intention to
displace as many as 25,000 villagers from their homes XXXXXXXXXXXX.
The military operation is intended to establish
control over the diamond fields as well as to provide
village-based housing to troops. The plan was temporarily
delayed due to the discovery of gold ore in the region where
the villagers were to be relocated. END SUMMARY.
Military Operation to Displace Thousands
¶2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXX the local chief in
the conflict-ridden XXXXXXXXXXXX diamond fields of XXXXXXXXXXXX
Zimbabwe, met with poloff to describe a military operation
intended to displace the region’s 20,000 to 25,000 residents.
He said that the military had informed them that XXXXXXXXXXXX
had been named a “government reserve area” and consequently,
it was authorized to displace all the local residents in and
around the XXXXXXXXXXXX diamond fields. He estimated that the
area in question encompassed several hundred square
kilometers, which is well in excess of the 70 hectare site
currently being hand-panned.
¶3. (C) Chief XXXXXXXXXXXX told us that the military’s plan had
been to move the residents in mid-January from their villages
to a site near the town of XXXXXXXXXXXX, some 60 kilometers north XXXXXXXXXXXX.
XXXXXXXXXXXX has a farm in XXXXXXXXXXXX where the villagers would be placed. While the area is within the boundaries of the
XXXXXXXXXXXX farm, the land was described by XXXXXXXXXXXX
as “just rough bush.” The villagers were to be provided with tents
for shelter, but no other accommodations were to be made for
their benefit. However, the chief said that the plan was
scuttled because an unnamed Russian gold mining group with
operations in the area informed the military that they had
recently discovered gold at XXXXXXXXXXXX. Consequently, the military is now seeking an alternate relocation site for the villagers.
¶4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX also explained that the operation was
motivated by both a desire to control the area and a need to
provide housing for the military brigades currently stationed
in the Marange region. An independent NGO in the area, as
well as the chief, reported that troops routinely force the
local villages to provide them with food and shelter, while
making residents dig for diamonds.
¶5. (C) Chief XXXXXXXXXXXX is establishing a trust intended to
raise funds for the legal defense and protection of displaced
people in the area and sought our help in the endeavor.
¶6. (C) The relocation of these villagers, if it occurs, is
the next preparatory step in the GOZ’s plan to use the
XXXXXXXXXXXX diamond fields to bail out the failed Zimbabwean
HARARE 00000051 002 OF 002
economy and prop-up the Mugabe patronage system (reftels).
While we are highly skeptical of the success of that scheme,
what is certain is that it would result in additional
suffering for XXXXXXXXXXXX residents. END COMMENT.
SELECT * FROM `cable` WHERE `id` = ‘188474’ ORDER BY `date` ASC