Tsvangirai: Diamonds used to rig election

The opposition leader says President Robert Mugabe used diamond money to sway the election.

FILE: Former Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaks in Harare on 1 August 2013. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert Mugabe's ruling elite of using diamonds to rig this year's elections.

Last month, the European Union lifted sanctions on the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

But Tsvangirai has told an audience at Oxford University that diamonds from the eastern Marange fields were undermining democracy in Zimbabwe.

He said the ruling Zanu-PF's control of Zimbabwe's diamond industry meant it had secret access to large sums of cash.

Tsvangirai alleged that 30,000 carats of diamonds were smuggled out of the country in April and May.

He said the money was used to make sure Mugabe won the polls, a victory the Movement for Democratic Change leader refused to accept.

Tsvangirai's comments come as a delegation from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre is in Zimbabwe to work out ways of resuming the diamond trade.

The opposition leader says Zimbabwe's gems aren't being used to develop the country, which is still struggling after more than 10 years of political and economic crisis.