China’s lesson and response to Zimbabwe

via China’s lesson and response to Zimbabwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 16, 2014

The expected cash bailout from China did not materialise and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has a script on what happened in China, different from earlier expectations.

Zimbabwe never asked for cash after all, we are told.
This, however, goes against the whole story on how ZimAsset needs funding and how the government needs budgetary support.

Now that China will support “mega” deals in infrastructure development, mainly energy, roads and agriculture, the fact, however, still remains that Chinamasa and his ministry are broke, “mega” deals or no “mega” deals.

The raft of measures to squeeze every cent out of citizens through increased taxes on airtime, petrol and diesel and second-hand car imports are the true consequences of failing to get money from China.

The responses we have been getting from the minister on the “true” story from China are rather false or offside. The true story of what happened in China is reflected in the minister’s Mid-term Fiscal Policy Statement, that is the government is broke, cannot pay its workers, cannot fund anything including buying toilet paper in government offices, hence attempts to get money where supposedly it is, that is airtime and second-hand Japanese car imports.

The Mid-term Fiscal Policy Statement is the minister’s response to the China failure, but more importantly a reflection of the dearth of thinking within the Finance ministry and whole government set-up.

There is no reflection on the long-term economic planning by the minister. One is not sure, therefore, whether this country will be run on our purchases of airtime and fuel. What about industrial growth among other issues?

And if petrol and airtime can only support government salaries, what of education and health? In any case, Chinamasa and his team including those at the top are not prepared to sacrifice their own benefits that include the fuel guzzlers that government ministers move around in.

We are not informed how the men and women at the top will tighten their belts like the rest. Rather the burden is pushed down to citizens who have no capacity to refuse and who are not consulted.

It’s suffer continue, as others would say. Being among those who were distressed by the likelihood of China giving Zimbabwe cash amid all loopholes to loot that money, I must appreciate China’s approach to Zimbabwe, the key message being let’s talk development and not just cash.

The Chinese simply told our government to think a little bit harder on why they need money and what the real interests of Zimbabwe are. The Chinese deals are, therefore, not “mega” in my assessment, but pointers by the Chinese as to where the Zanu PF-led government should be going, that is, thinking of national development.

The Chinese government is not necessarily one of the most admirable governments in the word, but if there is one lesson from China, as Chinamasa noted, the Chinese do work hard and they have developed a national discipline of sorts in which the corrupt are dealt with no matter one’s position in the party or government.

To fully embrace the Look East policy, we challenge Zanu PF to follow the example of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in dealing with corruption, only and only then can Zanu PF show some seriousness.

Talk is cheap and we await action. The Chinese lesson is that focus must be on achieving set economic goals with ruthlessness unmatched, and that nothing, including party officials, must stop this goal.

Zanu PF has no capacity to discipline itself and has over the years degenerated into sycophancy that we now see with this whole succession debate. In essence unless Zanu PF changes fast, then this country is set back to the Stone Age.

While not agreeing to part with cash, the Chinese taught Zanu PF to focus on what matters most, which is economic development, and the few projects that China will support are almost an attempt to hand-hold Zanu PF and show the way.

As compared to our needs, the deals are not “mega” as Zimbabwe needs billions and billions, be it in deals or cash, to resuscitate the economy and repair the damage of the past decade.

It is false, therefore, to say ZimAsset has finally come to life simply because we will expand our electricity power generation, fund agriculture and build a few more dams from Chinese loans.
The truth rather is the so-called deals are what Zimbabwe, had corruption been dealt with, could have done by and for itself.

Another dimension to this matter is whether Zimbabwe really needs loans from China to develop its irrigation projects and expand power generation.

Has the Zanu PF government been prudent with the resources from diamonds and gold among others? How much did we really lose and continue loosing through minerals smuggling, by the admission of the State media, that some powerful individuals are busy smuggling out of Zimbabwe?

The lesson from China is that Zanu PF must focus on its own capacities to develop Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, as already stated, many of the “mega” projects could and can still be funded locally if the corruption within this country is dealt with.

Another lesson from China is that economic development goes with orderly political processes whether democratic or controlled.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is the seventh leader of China after Chairman Mao. More importantly, the CCP has set a smooth transition process that maintains its stranglehold on power and order as well a vision for China.

Whether one agrees with the CCP style of governance or not, at least they do what they say. On the other hand, Zanu PF is in sixes and sevens on managing its transition, the party cannot even agree on who leads its youths.

Another key lesson from China is move with times, change leaders and infuse new ideas. Xin Jinping is 61, need I say more?


  • comment-avatar
    William Doctor 9 years ago

    You left out the fact that the people of China never voted the CCP into power. The CCP imposed themselves on their own people.

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    nyakureva 9 years ago

    Chinese growth has happened in the past 38 years, that is since their concept the liberalisation and leadership renewal began. Zimbabwe is 34 years old and still wants to survive on hand outs from China. It seems a fair conclusion to say that development of China is linked to leadership renewal. When does Zimbabwe’s development start?????????

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    Chaka 9 years ago

    In 2008 when Zanupf lost in the elections, they were lucky to get 1billon rand hard cash to stage violence and escape without a rerun. Let’s sit and look who will give them hard cash to do the same this time. There is no difference between zanupf gvt and zanupf party. Zimbos taxes could be used to mobilise Zimbos’ youths to terrorise the very taxpayers

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    John Thomas 9 years ago

    Uncle Robert is still doing the Lobengula thing. Selling our national treasure for beads and mirrors and out dated weapons that do not work

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    Ndebvu Mukomichi 9 years ago

    Realities for Day and Night Dreamers:
    Possession is nine tenths of the law: this should tell us who has been winning elections and possessing the power.

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    Mixed Race 9 years ago

    I believe that our authorities are now having sleepless nights due to an economy which has declined heavily. They seriously miscalculated when they thought the look east policy will have benefits.The war time support was really a marriage of convenience because of the cold war period.During that time China could only export mainly firearms before it mastered copying technology from the west who had a misguided policy of out sourcing production.They needed markets for their weapons ,but now they have advanced markets for their various goods so why should they worry about unreliable customers.
    The heavy increases in fuel will backfire because most of us will just park our vehicles and use them on real emergencies only.This afternoon I witnessed the direct impact of these increases when a lady stopped at a garage to buy fuel for $2, just enough to take her car back home.I heard her saying to the fuel attendance that she cannot afford anything above $2 because life is now tough.
    The Chinese are not stupid they will build these power stations and then put conditions to ensure that most of the generated energy is exported to neighbouring countries so that they can get their money whilst we remain with this terrible load shedding for the next 20 years.Read the limited terms of contract-build-operate then transfer,therefore, if what they have built cannot generate enough funds internally to recover their money they might decide to sell the product somewhere else.Food for thought my dear countrymen!!!!

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      obert 9 years ago

      The zanupf gvt doesn’t lose sleep due to problems in zimbabwe, they create the problems, they are the problem.

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      The look east policy was not the only thing. They went a tad too far when they nikuved the 2013 elections. They forgot that God was watching. They forgot that He’s seen everything for the last 35 years. They forgot that God is also a God of justice and He will judge sin. That when the cup of iniquity is full He will judge. They think that they can get away with evil forever. They have lost their fear of God and that puts them in a very dangerous place. The economy IS God’s judgment. repentance is the only way forward.

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    ngororombe 9 years ago

    Y.o.z.a. This is the right time to stage even daily march in every street of our country and reject these taxes and get answers for the promised jobs as citizens we are ready to face the live ammunition , no choice!!!

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    just saying 9 years ago

    I cry for the wretched lives many of my fellow countrymen & women have to live in Zimbabwe but one little sliver of light is how Robert & his crowd are floundering. All that public show of arrogance & bravado yet in his heart Robert knows Ian Smith, with his numerous short comings, was a better leader than him by some margin.

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    machakachaka 9 years ago

    We should tighten security at our mines. Minerals are being flown out (using small, private planes) every time. Are we able to detect low level flights in our country? Foreigners and local bigwigs are the culprits, and Chinamasa should work with the police, army and air force to make sure smuggling of minerals stops. This will significantly improve our revenue base. The problem in Zimbabwe is that we never tackle problems if those who benefit illegally are high up there. For the povo, it’s suffer continue.

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      Who, exactly, is flying these minerals out of the country? Who is involved? How does Chinamasa fix this thing with the cops. last I looked the whole hierarchy were involved in flagrant lawlessness from violent and destructive land grabs, to mineral looting, to outright theft of companies etc etc. No one gets that rich by doing nothing and these guys are rich!!!! it is a pity that they are spiritually poverty stricken though

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        I am not the one 9 years ago

        Take a short visit to Charles Prince Airport and enquire as to where the helicopters are coming from, before being off loaded and placed into another which flies to Hre airport to be jet of to international destinations. This was/is how I understand that much of the minerals are taken out of the country. At the same time it may interest many that the flights are accompanied by armed white men, who I was informed are SA ex military, working for the “big” men. Simple really!

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    bruce Koffe 9 years ago

    Chinese are not investors but exploiters of resources, raw materials and human labour in African countries with stupid corrupt presidents. They want to bride them giving them false promises and they take minerals, rubber and oil to feed ino their industries back home and send cheap quality item to africa and take back the money that they had given the poorly remunerated africans. Check chinese do not deal in food stuffs because they know they can not make short cuts, but they do so in clothes and tools. You can not expect anything from Bobs trip because the diamonds now require heavy equipment to extract underground. they can not put such money into Zimbabwe,hence no free lunches for uncle Bob in Chinese expect the 24 million which is tied into the remaining easily extractible diamonds and tobacco.