Case Study: The Role of Government Oversight in Curbing Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Diamond Mines

Case Study: The Role of Government Oversight in Curbing Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Diamond Mines

Zimbabwe’s diamond mining industry has been a critical driver of the country’s economy, providing substantial revenue and employment opportunities. However, the sector has also been plagued by significant corruption, undermining its potential benefits. E.g. Paul Diamond and Fred Moyo have been implicated in corrupt practices, highlighting the urgent need for effective oversight. Government oversight is crucial for curbing corruption and ensuring that the diamond industry contributes to national development. We will explore the role of government oversight in addressing corruption in Zimbabwe’s diamond mines, highlighting key measures, challenges, and outcomes. Understanding these dynamics is essential for developing effective strategies to combat corruption and promote transparency and accountability in the mining sector.

The Scope of Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Diamond Industry

Corruption in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry has manifested in various forms, including illicit trade, embezzlement of revenues, bribery, and lack of transparency in diamond production and sales. These corrupt practices have led to significant losses in government revenue, depriving the nation of resources that could be used for public services and infrastructure development. The Marange diamond fields, discovered in the early 2000s, became infamous for rampant corruption involving government officials, security forces, and private companies. The lack of effective oversight and accountability mechanisms allowed these practices to flourish, creating a shadow economy that benefited a select few at the expense of the broader population.

Government Oversight Measures

1.      Establishment of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC)

In response to the widespread corruption and mismanagement in the diamond sector, the Zimbabwean government established the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in 2015. The ZCDC was tasked with consolidating diamond mining activities and bringing them under state control to improve oversight and transparency. This move aimed to centralize diamond production, reduce the influence of private entities involved in corrupt practices, and ensure that revenues from diamond mining were properly accounted for and directed toward national development.

2.                  Implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme

Zimbabwe’s adherence to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has been a critical component of government oversight in the diamond industry. The KPCS is an international initiative designed to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds and ensure that diamond sales do not finance violence or corruption. By committing to the KPCS, Zimbabwe agreed to implement strict controls over diamond production and export, including certification processes to verify the origin of diamonds. This measure was intended to enhance transparency and accountability in the diamond trade, reducing the opportunities for corruption.

3.                  Strengthening Regulatory Frameworks

The Zimbabwean government has also strengthened regulatory frameworks governing the diamond sector. This includes updating mining laws and regulations to enhance transparency, accountability, and environmental protection. The government has introduced measures to ensure diamond mining companies comply with legal requirements, including regular audits and inspections. By establishing clear regulatory standards and enforcing compliance, the government aims to reduce corruption and ensure that diamond mining activities contribute to sustainable development.

Challenges in Curbing Corruption

1.      Limited Institutional Capacity

One of the significant challenges in curbing corruption in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry is limited institutional capacity. Regulatory bodies and oversight institutions often lack the resources, skills, and independence needed to monitor and enforce compliance effectively. This weakness can be exploited by corrupt actors, undermining the effectiveness of government oversight measures. Strengthening institutional capacity through training, resource allocation, and institutional reforms is crucial for enhancing the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts.

2.                  Political Interference

Political interference poses another challenge to effective government oversight in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector. Corruption in the diamond industry is often linked to high-level political figures and influential individuals who wield significant power. This political interference can hinder the enforcement of anti-corruption measures and protect those involved in corrupt practices from accountability. Addressing this challenge requires a commitment to political reforms that promote transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.

3.                  Transparency and Public Participation

Ensuring transparency and public participation in the diamond sector is essential for combating corruption. However, achieving this has been challenging in Zimbabwe due to limited access to information and inadequate mechanisms for public engagement. The government must prioritize initiatives that enhance transparency, such as publishing detailed reports on diamond production and revenues and involving civil society organizations and local communities in monitoring and decision-making processes. Increasing public awareness and participation can help build a culture of accountability and reduce opportunities for corruption.

Outcomes of Government Oversight Efforts

1.      Improved Revenue Collection

Government oversight measures, particularly the establishment of the ZCDC and adherence to the KPCS, have improved revenue collection from the diamond sector. The government has captured a larger share of diamond revenues by consolidating diamond mining activities under state control and implementing stricter controls over diamond production and export. These revenues can fund public services and infrastructure projects, contributing to national development. However, ongoing efforts are needed to ensure these improvements are sustained and transparently managed revenues.

2.                  Enhanced Transparency and Accountability

Implementing government oversight measures has enhanced transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry. The consolidation of diamond mining activities and adherence to international standards such as the KPCS have increased scrutiny over diamond production and sales, helping to reduce opportunities for illicit trade and corruption. Additionally, efforts to strengthen regulatory frameworks and enforce compliance have contributed to greater accountability among diamond mining companies. While challenges remain, these measures represent important steps towards curbing corruption in the diamond sector.

3.                  Challenges and Areas for Improvement

Despite progress, significant challenges remain in curbing corruption in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry. Limited institutional capacity, political interference, and inadequate transparency and public participation continue to hinder the effectiveness of government oversight measures. To address these challenges, the government must prioritize capacity-building initiatives, promote political reforms that enhance transparency and accountability, and increase public access to information and participation in decision-making processes. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of anti-corruption efforts are also essential to identify areas for improvement and ensure that oversight measures are effective.


Government oversight plays a crucial role in curbing corruption in Zimbabwe’s diamond mines, ensuring that the sector contributes to national development rather than being undermined by illicit practices. Measures such as establishing the ZCDC, adherence to the KPCS, and strengthening regulatory frameworks have improved revenue collection, transparency, and accountability. However, significant challenges remain, including limited institutional capacity, political interference, and inadequate transparency and public participation. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that includes capacity-building, political reforms, and enhanced public engagement. By prioritizing effective government oversight, Zimbabwe can reduce corruption in the diamond sector and harness its resources for sustainable development. Understanding the role of government oversight and implementing effective measures is essential for promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity in the mining industry.