via We are bleeding US dollars to China | The Zimbabwean 02.04.14 by Vince Musewe
No country will invest in Zimbabwe in our current political and investment climate unless it sees a huge advantage for itself.
There is this justification by Zanu (PF) that China assisted Zimbabwe in the armed struggle and is therefore a good all-weather friend to us. My question is: when we will stop paying for that? When will we stop and realise that China has only the interests of China at heart? Granted it has incredible economic power – but that should not come at the expense of our development.
In my opinion, China has benefitted more from this relationship with Zimbabwe than the so-called liberated ordinary Zimbabweans have. In addition we must make no mistake that China actually interferes indirectly in our politics by continually strengthening and supporting Zanu (PF) its “friend”.
Exploited by ‘friends’
Despite our so-called sovereignty, we remain a country that continues to be economically exploited by our so called friends. There is no country that will invest or get involved in Zimbabwe at its own cost and the sooner we wake up to this fact the better for our future.
If China is truly an all-weather friend, let us hear about them directly giving us loans and assistance that create jobs and facilitate the local manufacture of goods for export. If China truly cares, let us see hospitals, clinics and social service delivery being their main concerns. This is not currently the case. The building of military academies and an air base does not benefit us nor is it a developmental priority.
This is my challenge to the Chinese; Zimbabwe needs knowledge and technology transfers not the continued donation of seed or inputs through ZANU (PF) structures. Let us see the relocation of productive capacity to this country, so that we may increase our export earnings. Let us see the promotion of freedom and liberty of our people, if the Chinese truly are our friends. Let us see soft loans in cash to revive our industries and local production capacity and rebuild our infrastructure.
Also the Chinese must stop exploiting Zimbabweans workers by paying them ridiculous wages. Whether in office jobs or industry, I have heard horrendous stories of how workers are treated. This even includes local office Zimbabwean employees who work at Chinese foreign institutions in Zimbabwe. Overt racism, exploitation and sheer rudeness are common. That is unacceptable.
Despite the interminable empty cries by Mugabe that Zimbabwe will only engage the international community on our terms, it is clear to me that this excludes China. We need to protect our local industry from Chinese imports. We need to see that in every transaction the benefits accrue to Zimbabweans.
The continued bashing of the west as imperialists who only consider what they can get out of Zimbabwe is nothing but political rhetoric. All foreign countries, including China, ultimately have their own interest at heart. Why do Africans never learn?
The rampant and continued underdevelopment of our nation through the willingness and naivety of Zanu (PF) continues to disadvantage all Zimbabweans and short change us. We must fight for our economic interests. Enough is enough!
- Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org