Mugabe Wife Sues Paper Over Cablegate
The wife of Zimbabwe Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe is suing the Zimbabwe Standard for quoting a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks that claims she and other profited illegally from the country’s diamond industry.
Grace Mugabe launched a US$15 million defamation lawsuit against the paper last week, after key information from a 2007 cable was reprinted in the paper, which is one of the most-read in Zimbabwe.
“The CEO of a British mining company described to us how high-ranking Zimbabwean government officials and well-connected elites are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds from the Chiadzwa mine in eastern Zimbabwe,” the cable says.
“They are selling the undocumented diamonds to a mix of foreign buyers including Belgians, Israelis, Lebanese, Russians and South Africans who smuggle them out of the country for cutting and resale elsewhere.”
The cable also says Zimbabwe forces have killed thousands of independent diamond speculators who have dared to enter the Chiadzwa area in search of fortune.
In her suit, The Zimbabwe Standard reports Mugabe claims she is “held in high esteem throughout the world as the ‘mother of the nation’ and the article had lowered the respect with which she is held ‘to a point of disappearance.'”
International press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has slammed the lawsuit, saying Mugabe is attempting to shut down the paper for printing “information available to everyone.”