China plans airbase in Zimbabwe

via China plans airbase in Zim | The Zimbabwean 26.02.14

China is planning to set up a modern high-tech military base in the diamond-rich Marange fields, says a German-based website, Telescope News.

The news of the agreement to set up the first Chinese military airbase in Africa comes amid increasing bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and China – notably in mining, agriculture and preferential trade. China is the only country exempted from the indigenisation laws which force all foreign investors to cede 51% of their shareholding to carefully selected indigenous Zimbabweans.

The Marange story quoted unnamed military officials and a diplomat admitting knowledge of the plan to set up the base. Efforts to get a comment from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were fruitless, as spokesperson Lt Col Alphios Makotore was consistently unavailable and did not respond to emails by the time of going to press.

The website speculated that China could be positioning itself for future “gunboat diplomacy” where its military presence would give it bargaining power against superpowers like the US. It would also be safeguarding its significant economic interests in Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.

Veil of secrecy

“Military officials in Zimbabwe said details of the airbase plan were sketchy and mostly classified due to the veil of secrecy around President Robert Mugabe’s relationship with China’s Red Army. A sizeable number of Chinese troops are reported to have their boots on the ground in the Marange diamond fields, which have since been cordoned off as a high level security zone,” said the publication.

It added that a senior Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) officer based in Harare confirmed that there were rumours of the impending establishment of the airstrip as a “follow up to a military treaty signed between China and Zimbabwe in July 2005”.

Telescope News has made sensational claims in recent weeks, among them that Defence Minister and Zanu (PF) Secretary for Legal Affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was secretly anointed by the military to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

Key battleground

It quoted a former Asian diplomat deployed to Zimbabwe for almost a decade as saying: “Haven’t you heard that Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today? As such in terms of geo-politics Zimbabwe is already a key battleground, for various competing powers. During my stay there, we heard about many military agreements being signed between the two countries.”

Chinese companies are heavily involved in diamond mining, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Government. They are believed to have constructed the airstrip at Marange that many suspect is being used to clandestinely haul diamonds to unknown destinations. It has sophisticated radar systems and ultra-modern facilities.

Beijing bankroll

Confidential Central Intelligence Organisation documents leaked last year suggested that China had played a central role in retaining President Robert Mugabe in the July 31 elections, indicating that high level military officers had worked closely with the local army in poll strategies while Beijing bankrolled Zanu (PF).

China is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner after South Africa and has strategic economic interests in many African countries to guarantee raw materials, job sources and markets for its huge population.

The new Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin, recently said trade between the two countries last year exceeded the $1 billion mark. Yet Zimbabwe is only 26th on the list of China’s 58 biggest African trading partners.

The Asian country has supplied Zimbabwe with military hardware, including MIG jet fighters, tanks, armoured vehicles and rifles, since Independence.

It vetoed a move by the United Nations in 2005 to censor Zimbabwe following an uproar over increasing human rights abuses.


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37 comments on “China plans airbase in Zimbabwe
  1. John Thomas says:

    Military agreements with China are not worth the paper they are written on. They will all be torn up when ZANU goes

  2. Roving Ambassador says:

    Open recolonization under Mugabe’s rule. He has always been their puppet. The North Koreans were too poor to sustain the patronage system in Zanu, so the Chinese had to come in. It has worked well for both camps so far. The strategy is to keep the masses poor and subservient. Its going to be tough, as the cake gets smaller the Zanoids will fight among themselves.
    We are a resilient people. A point will be reached where we shall all realise there is nothing to loose,let’s fight for our survival.
    They have seen our weakness for trinkets. Zanu gets a load of ak47 for the diamonds.

    Mugabe has been sleeping on the job for many years.

  3. LUCY says:

    Why ?????????

    China has no one’s interests except its own at heart.Bob is prostituting the country which he tells us everyday is a sovereign state.

  4. Mark Talbot says:

    Why wouldn’t China want an airbase in one of it’s colonies?

  5. Jogo Bonita says:

    The diamonds from marange wont have to go thru Harare Airport checks.this airbase will make smuggling in and out of the country much easier for the Mnangagwas.

  6. senzachena says:

    If the story is true, maybe the western world will wake up and realise that China is recolonising the continent with the intention of having control of all its mineralys and the west will suck hind tit. Maybe they will take some action!

  7. Jake says:

    Airbase? What the….don’t they know – “We will never be a colony again”

  8. Zvakwana says:

    As the heat in the pot increases so the geriatric is forced to surround himself by more and more security it gives him peace of mind.

  9. gorongoza says:

    The robbing of Zim of its diamonds by China continues unabated!

  10. Mthwakazi says:

    The more Botswana is justified to up the ante in American bases on their land.

    I call upon my beloved and wise President Seretse Khama Ian Khama and beloved President Barack Hussein Obama to sieze the moment. This is the urgency of now, as the gukurahundis know no limits in their madness.

    The US and NATO please come as of yesterday. We sick and tired of these gukurahundi pieces of shiit!!

  11. Charles Chamunorwa says:

    We don’t need militery bases. We need roads, hospitals, jobs, textbooks in schoools-Mr. President

  12. jobolinko says:

    Intresting those who voted for zanu must be ashamed of of these developments, Airbase for what.?

  13. UMAARI says:

    Gorongoza, China is neither robbing nor looting the diamond but doing significant activity better than EU

  14. Don Cox says:

    I think gaining independence from China will be much harder than gaining independence from Britain.

  15. UMAARI says:

    None of them can give you independence, when the person is born he/she is free, but for developing African countries China is the choice!!

  16. MikeH says:

    None of this surprises me at all. Think of the rapidly increasing population of China; shear numbers alone dictate that they will have to go somewhere and what better place to start than Africa with it’s wide open spaces, not to mention it’s relatively untapped natural wealth. Their foot is well and trully in the Zimbabwe (Colony of) door.

  17. Rwendo says:

    Where is Jono? “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again!” Right…

  18. Mixed Race says:

    Those who fool themselves with this cheap Chinese obsolete airbase have not done research on what is called highly technical air-defense networking supported by real air power with planes immune to radar equipment. What are MIG- jet fighters now except that they have speed but with questionable fire accuracy.
    The Americans look at this with a big laughter because they do not need air power to soften an enemy because they have the deadly fire power with their cruise missiles with an accuracy of a meter radius.When the Chinese tried to flex their air power a few years ago they lost their plane and their pilot trying to intercept an airborne spying plane over the East China sea.Who knows what the Americans did to it with their in-built-in anti-missile system?
    America does not talk much about their war machinery but they have the most deadly equipment in the world. Just wait and see when they get a leader who is less diplomatic like Mr Obama, then you will see Russia and China pulling back on certain issues affecting the world.Mr Obama has given them a chance to make them appear big due to the support they get from these small UN nations who make a lot of noises.In short airbases are easy targets in modern warfare,therefore they mean nothing except for training bases.The most reliable command centers are the mobile types which are not easy to target during the war.

  19. Mthwakazi says:

    American drones all over the Republic of Gukurahundiland skies – here we come!!!

  20. UMAARI says:

    You are a slave and don’t even know it. You must free yourself, imbecile. Umwrong is saying Africans are slave, I am telling him where i am originated, could Umwrong inform me where he is originated, i mean his parental lineage; there we can be differentiated otherwise he has nothing, fatherless.

  21. Just saying says:

    Roving ambassador has it right when he says the Chinese have seen our weakness with trinkets. For those who wants to take non-violent action this presents another opportunity. All we have to do is stop buying their junk that we sell on to ourselves. I appreciate many do this for a living but all you are doing is enslaving yourself economically so what’s the point. Stop asking what you can do to change things. Boycott the China Mall in Belvedere!

  22. Allen says:

    We will dismantle the set up as soon a s we are free from the scourge that is ZANU(PF).,

  23. Only Fools says:

    This is not new. They have used Marange as a base for a long time. Helicopters regularly take off from there as do airplanes. There is a 1.2km landing strip with a semi underground bunker full of military hardware, fact.

  24. roving ambassador. says:

    Even Zanu cannot force you to shop Chinese, Thanks Just Saying, .We really need to keep preaching about this . Not many of us can see through all this chicanery . Lets enlighten our friends, neighbours and colleagues.PASSIVE RESISTANCE IS OUR ONLY TOOL. Lets use it

  25. Africanson says:

    Is this a true story, a base at the diamond field?

  26. UMAARI says:

    Onlyfool, as Africans we need where you are from originally, nothing else we need!!! Tell me who fathered you Onlyfool??????????

  27. clive newman says:

    very interesting and in my opinion very true

  28. George says:

    The significance of a strategic military airbase at Marange is this -
    *Diamonds are confirmed as (already a fait accompli) central to China’s existence in Zim.
    *Zim becomes China’s primary focus and asset in Africa.
    *It is China’s answer to USA base in Bot.
    *Africa is the ‘new frontier’ as regards the West and China.
    *Like Zim, RSA is already a Chinese lackey and is obviously comfortable with this escalatory development.
    *China becomes a military threat to non-aligned & ambivalent countries in the region.
    *It will escalate tensions and the relative power balance in the region.
    *It bedevils the prospects of ever having true democracy in the region.
    *It facilitates the ongoing corruption that ZANUpf inflicts upon the citizens and nationhood, to their suffering and anguish.
    *that RSA stands by with an accepting demeanour is utterly unacceptable

  29. Petal says:

    Bob loves them because they build statues and homes for him!!

  30. Petal says:

    Perhaps the next monetary unit will the YEN! ICHO!

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