“[Chinese nationals] have contributed nothing of value except to aid a corrupt and repressive political system while looting away our national resources.”
These were statements by Willias Madzimure, the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) secretary for international relations who wrote in an editorial on Monday.
In his article, the PDP called on all Zimbabweans and other international stakeholders to come together and call for the Chinese to exit the country immediately.
According to Madzimure Beijing is “bleeding” Zimbabwe’s economy by supporting President Robert Mugabe, whose leadership has caused the country major financial crisis. The country now struggles with a cash shortage, high unemployment rates, and slow economic growth.
In a recent public address during Zimbabwe’s 36th independence anniversary ceremony, Mugabe said that Zimbabwe had recorded achievements in addressing issues affecting Zimbabweans including employment. He noted that some companies had created jobs in a nation whose unemployment rate stands at more than 85 percent, according to independent analysts.
Over the past three decades, Zimbabwe has depended on China as an ally in international as well as a trading partner. When British and US put in place plans to apply punitive pressure on Mugabe orchestrating violence against opposition groups in a run-off election, in 2008, China strongly rejected the sanction.
Following the ongoing economic meltdown, recently, Zimbabwe adopted the Chinese yuan as one of Zimbabwe’s legal currencies. China is Zimbabwe’s top investor, investing in major sectors like agriculture and mining among other sectors. The Investment, according to China’s embassy in Harare adds up to about $50 million last year.
But it is not just the opposition that is fighting against the Chinese. The ruling party, Zanu PF regime confirmed what People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President and Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti regularly said during his tenure, the Chinese were looting diamond money.
Mugabe announced that in his leadership, Zimbabwe lost a whopping $15 billion worth of diamond revenue. He called on all foreign diamond mining companies, including their Beijing ally’s large companies such as Anjin Investment and Jinan Mining, to hand over their operations to the government. In March, the 92-year old ruler disclosed that the country had lost $13 billion in potential revenues due to illegal trade in the diamond industry.
“In all this, the Chinese have literary invaded the national economy and are milking all the profits back to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong,” Madzimure said adding that in return for having been given unfettered access to the national economy by the desperate Mugabe regime, the Chinese have offered political protection at international level.
The international protection offered by China is not helping the people of Zimbabwe who continue to struggle in the staggering economy, made worse by the devastating drought due to El Nino.
Madzimure feels that the relationship between China and Zimbabwe is not mutually beneficial to the two parties. According to him, China has an upper hand because while their companies offer employment to the locals, they overwork their employees and under pay them. Moreover, the leader at PDP says that some Chinese operations do not pay taxes, and smuggle goods into the country by undervaluing them and failing to declare most of their imports.
“By on one hand aiding and abetting the criminal Mugabe regime and on the other salting away billions of dollars from the country, the Chinese are killing the country twice. They are sustaining and perpetuating oppression of the worst kind while ensuring that the present and future generations of the country are permanently economically disempowered and disinherited forever. This is the worst kind of imperialism and as Zimbabweans, we must rise and resist it.”
Image credit: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi