Chinese Premier goes on African safari but skips Zimbabwe

via Chinese Premier ducks Zim – DailyNews Live by Fungi Kwaramba  7 MAY 2014

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang is on an African safari, strengthening ties with resource-rich nations but will not come to Zimbabwe.

During his African tour, his first since he became the premier of the global powerhouse last year, Keqiang will visit Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola.

“I will feel the deep friendship based on solidarity and mutual assistance between the Chinese and African peoples, see for myself Africa’s dynamic economic and social development, and listen to the people’s description of their expectation for good life in the future,” Keqiang said ahead of the visit.

Keqiang is not the first top Chinese official to come to Africa and omit Zimbabwe from his diary.

Ten days after being appointed the leader of China in March last year, Xi Jinping visited Tanzania, South Africa and Congo Brazzaville but again did not come to Zimbabwe.

Hu Jintao, Jinping’s predecessor had in 2007 visited Cameroon, Liberia, Sudan, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Seychelles, again avoiding Zimbabwe.

Dewa Mavhinga, chairperson for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said the Chinese were Zimbabwe’s friends on paper.

“That the Chinese premier has ignored Zimbabwe in his Africa visit confirms more categorically that Zanu PF’s claim to have close ties with China is false.

“It is a figment of a fertile imagination as already indicated previously when China failed to open lines of credit to Zimbabwe when Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently extended a begging bowl to China as part of the ill-fated so-called ‘Look East Policy’,” he said.

“It does not take a rocket scientist to see that, in terms of business interests, when Zimbabwe looks east to China, in turn, China looks west. A key lesson to learn from China is that it will not let political rhetoric replace business interests.”

Alex Magaisa, a former advisor to Morgan Tsvangirai, pointed to the irony that comes from Zimbabwe’s grand posturing on its alliance with China, when the leaders of the Asian nation have never visited the country.

“Given the manner in which our leadership sing merrily about China, one would expect these friends to also pay us a courtesy call,” Magaisa said.

According to statistics, bilateral trade between China and Zimbabwe reached $1,102 billion in 2013, up by 8,53 percent compared to the previous year, in which Zimbabwean exports were worth $688 million and imports were $414 million.

Tired of the governance benchmarks and political reform strings attached to Western aid and investment, countries like Zimbabwe are finding it easier to deal with China, whose leaders have a policy of “non-interference” in domestic matters.

But cynical analysts and labourers see nothing mutually beneficial in China and Zimbabwe trade.

Workers say the Chinese are abusive, trade unionists and commentators think they are treated with kid gloves, while supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ‘‘Look East policy’’ say Zimbabwe should actually be doing more to lure Chinese investors.

Brighton Musonza, a political commentator, said Zimbabwe is not on the radar of China’s choice trade partners.

“This is the second time,” Musonza said.

“Our relations are not premised on economic interests but it’s us clinging on them and there is no reason to visit a country like Zimbabwe. Their economic interests in the region are entrusted to South Africa.”

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin said: “As Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend, China is more than willing to support your efforts in infrastructural building.

“Children are our future and we believe that providing children with proper education is the best way to ensure a nation’s sustainable development,” he said after a recent donation of generators to 12 schools.

Chris Mutsvangwa, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, told a conference dubbed, “Zimbabwe going forward — Consolidating the Democratisation process and Reinforcing Re-engagement with the Global Community” in Harare on Monday that Zimbabwe “cannot afford to ignore the potential offered by the Asian tigers”.

He said serious businesses should deal with the Chinese.


  • comment-avatar

    China already own Mugabe and as such Zimbabwe. They do not need to court Mugabe any more. Chinese do not give face to their slaves.

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    Ruramai 10 years ago

    Who in their right mind can hold serious discussions with a 90 year old who has already surrendered his resources to China? Zimbabwe is in the bag so much so that the Chinese are even allowed to build on our wetlands.

  • comment-avatar
    Rwendo 10 years ago

    While courting can be conducted openly, men seldom visit prostitutes in broad daylight.

  • comment-avatar

    Maybe Mugabe should throw a tuntrum like he did when he couldn’t take DisGrace to Brussells. He could even rope in Zuma to kick the wall with him until the Chinese give him his rightful place as BBF!!

    Howling and wetting myself with laughter!

  • comment-avatar

    Come on mugabe boycott china the way you did Brussels. We are all waiting to see you do that.

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    Little dorrit 10 years ago

    Skipping the World’s best tourist destination 2014

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    Msizeni silwelani 10 years ago

    They are done with us, we are on our own. Anyone will chose his/her associates carefully. We all want to identify with successful brands and logic tells Zimbabwe is not such a brand.

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    And I thought we won that tourism accolade? It speaks a million words does it not. Zimbabwe is a reproach to the nations around. I don’t think the Chinese Premier could face the begging bowl being shoved in his face

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    Mukanya 10 years ago

    Heads should roll for failing to convince our Eastern Overseer to pay a visit to this glittering up-coming province of China.

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    gorongoza 10 years ago

    Mugabe already went to China and sold Zimbabwe on a silver platter. Why would the Chinese have to come to Zim now when they already hae been given the country for free by that muBrandaya?

    • comment-avatar
      vovonde 10 years ago

      Most likely, China’s request is gathering dust in someone’s pending tray.

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    JOHNSON 10 years ago

    the chinese want long term business relationships, not ‘friendship’. They know that is a language for one night stand crooks ‘friends’. There are never friends on the global arena! Not on nation to nation terms. Learn the lesson. People look for investor friendliness, creditworthiness, law abiding, humanity etc such good things…not friendship….friend, ……friends……my …..friend….FRIEND…..does not sound businesslike. Change the language to partner, etc. Be civilized…No friends ….OK?

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    JOHNSON 10 years ago

    The Chinese are our FRIENDS. kikikikikikik, Friends. Oh My foot! Chinese friends? Sound extraordinary. Too good to be true because the Chinese were never our FRIENDS. Think about it.

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    JOHNSON 10 years ago

    we dont need friends, but investments both local and international, diaspora etc. Then later we can develop friendship if possible or necessary…..But it is not a must. We can still make money with people who are not our friends. You see! Where is the connection here! It’s our friends who are leaving us in this mess.

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    Petal 10 years ago

    He is probably looking for more elephants that zimbabwe can offer for their ivory!