Unreported World, Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds
Mugabe ‘buying army’s loyalty with blood diamonds’
Last updated at 12:01AM, October 29 2010
President Mugabe is plundering Zimbabwe’s biggest diamond field to buy the army’s loyalty and tighten his grip on power as the coalition government teeters on the brink of collapse, according to members of Parliament and military sources.
“Government officials are allowing top-ranking members of the military to pocket money from the diamond fields. They simply rubber-stamp the decisions taken by the military,” said a high-ranking soldier who did not want to be named.
Members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister, claim that the proceeds are being used as a war chest to fund Mr Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party in upcoming elections.
“Politicians are profiting from the diamonds, not the Government. The money is being used to fund thugs, it’s funding violence,” said Moses Mare, an MDC member of a parliamentary committee investigating the mines.
According to both Mr Mare and the unnamed soldier, a directive was issued from the President’s office allowing looting at every level, with generals sending a fresh brigade of troops to the fields every few months. This enables all military units to profit, enhancing officers’ paltry pay, which is about $100 (£63) a month. Even if there are no especially large finds, a soldier can earn more than three years’ salary during a stay at the fields. This, says Mr Mare, ensures the army’s continued loyalty.