Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Patrick Chinamasa has rubbished claims that Zimbabwe lost US$15 billion in potential diamond revenue. The $15 billion figure was first used by former President Robert Mugabe in an interview and seems to have been taken literally by some. However, Chinamasa dismissed the amount saying that it had been used figuratively and that Zimbabweans should be rational when discussing the issue. Speaking in Parliament, Chinamasa said:
Allow me to lay this analysis, which sets out who is the key diamond producer and what the annual production per carat and the value is so that we can make our own judgments as to whether or not we are basically saying $15 billion worth of diamonds which did not exist was stolen.
“I just want us to engage our brains; please it does not matter who said what. Let us engage our brain and see what is true and what is not. Do not misread the former president who was speaking figuratively. I am not saying in any way that there may not have been an abuse.
So, how do we, when we are not producing end up saying $15 billion has been stolen? I just want us to understand this, take your time to go through these figures and please let us not switch off our minds when we are considering national issues.
Chinamasa was echoing the same sentiments which were initially aired by George Charamba, the spokesperson for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and former president Robert Mugabe who once said the $15 billion figure was made up by Mugabe for emphasis. Writing as Nathaniel Manheru in January 2017, Charamba wrote
I have a great disclosure to make, even then at the risk of contravening a sacred Act I signed and am sworn to. 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. Then a great conversation started: “Sir, this claim that we lost $15bn-worth of diamonds?”
Great, cacophonous laughter from The Great One. “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 yandakangotaura zvangu kuti zvityise, (Just a figure that i made up for emphasis) kikikiki!”
“Ahh shefu, zvino mativambira neOpposition!” (But Boss, you were giving the opposition ammunition)
More laughter! “Hameno zvako (Bad for you), 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? Zvimwewo izvo zvava zvako (The rest is on you)!” Another round of laughter, even more raucous. Palaver finish!
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George Charamba is the Press Secretary in the Office of the President of Zimbabwe. He is therefore there official spokesperson of the president. He has been in this position since 2000 when he was appointed by President Robert Mugabe Charamba has been a columnist in... Read More About George Charamba
Patrick Anthony Chinamasa is a Zimbabwean politician and a member of the ruling Zanu-PF party. He is the former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning .He was reappointed to the ministry after President Emmerson Mnangagwa had appointed his cabinet in November 2017.Chinamasa is former Minister... Read More About Patrick Chinamasa
Nathaniel Manheru is a fictional character, or some would call it a pseudonym that is allegedly used by one ZANU PF politician in the state controlled newspaper, The Herald. Some speculate that the column is run by George Charamba a ZANU PF stalwart who is... Read More About Nathaniel Manheru