Harare – The opposition People’s Democratic Party has called for the immediate resignation of President Robert Mugabe over the missing $15 billion in diamond revenue and to allow a national transitional authority to lead the country to fresh elections.
The party’s national organising secretary, Solomon Madzore, said Mugabe’s recent revelation that the country had lost such a huge amount in the Chiadzwa mining fields in the past seven years had confirmed fears by former Finance Minister and now PDP President, Tendai Biti, that Chiadzwa diamonds had been looted on a large scale.
“Zimbabwe has been in a dire economic crisis which is now approaching its second decade. The Zimbabwean economy has shrunk by 40 percent of its 1990 value, unemployment has reached an all-time high of 94 percent level, 98 percent of youth are working in the informal sector and hundreds of companies have closed shop, reducing cities like Bulawayo to almost ghost town status,” Madzore said.
Madzore said Mugabe had enlisted the services of international bandits and mercenaries from the Far East and to run an extractive political institution driven by the twin dynamics of power and primitive accumulation.
“This is the very reason why Mugabe did nothing when Tendai Biti raised the issue of looting of diamonds as way back as 2009. Mugabe is thus the godfather of corruption and his mild admission that diamonds were heavily looted is just a tip of the iceberg,” he said.
He said the discovery of diamonds in Chiadzwa had failed to revive the country’s economy, with revenue collection shrinking while social service delivery had collapsed in most urban areas.
“Water cuts, electricity cuts, heavily potholed roads and non-functional hospitals have become the order of the day for the last two decades in Zimbabwe.”
Madzore claimed that a lot more minerals were being mined in secrecy, a situation he said was creating fertile ground for corruption.
“If investigations can be done we will certainly get shocked at the level to which our minerals have been looted by private companies with the full blessings of Mugabe himself,” he said.
The former Movement for Democratic Change Youth League Secretary said Mugabe was protecting those who were plundering the country’s natural resources as he was only worried about his continued cling to power.
“The 2013 election was characterised by breathtaking patronage and large-scale vote buying which were certainly paid for by diamond money. The recent rallies by Mugabe’s second wife have also
had the same features, thus betraying that someone looting our resources is giving rent to the first family and Zanu PF. This is unacceptable,” he said.
The PDP called for the setting up of a commission of inquiry by parliament to investigate the looting of the Chiadzwa diamonds and the prosecution of those implicated.
The international community, Madzore said, should freeze assets of all those fingered in the Chiadzwa looting in their respective countries, adding that the opposition, civil society, workers, students, youth, peasants, war veterans and all ordinary citizens should come together and mobilise a campaign for the money to be returned.