Zimbabwe and Chinese imperialism

I just wish I could educate Zimbabweans that, as long as they continue to import cheap goods from China, they are effectively shifting jobs and employment to China.

Column by Vince Musewe

If I were to become the President of Zimbabwe, one of my first decisions would be to rescind all deals done by Zanu PF with the Chinese.

I am disgusted and quite angry to learn that Anjin, one of the companies mining diamonds in the Marange fields in Manicaland province in Zimbabwe, is 90 percent owned by the Chinese and 10 percent by the army and is clandestinely diverting huge diamond revenues that effectively belong to Zimbabweans.

How could we be so stupid to get into a relationship where the army merely owns 10% of a very valuable national asset? Interestingly enough, they are the very ones talking about how they will defend 100% indigenisation of the corporate sector.

As far as I am concerned, the extraction of national assets and revenues from Zimbabwe by the Chinese is no different to Western imperialism that resulted in the underdevelopment of Africa. This time, we have Chinese imperialism happening with the consent and participation of our so-called liberators.

Our politicians continue to tell us how the imperialists want to destroy Africa and keep it underdeveloped, but right on our door step is de facto Chinese imperialism.

I think our liberation struggle political parties have been naïve to believe that looking East will create advantageous economic relations compared with the West. Personally, I have not heard of any African country which has developed rapidly because of the involvement of the Chinese.

Yes, they have built infrastructure in Africa, but the cost to our future generations is unimaginable. Their economic agenda is that of extracting as much wealth and value out of Africa as possible. It’s all about them.

I cannot believe it that, as Zimbabweans, we have allowed the Chinese to ride roughshod over locals in almost every sector of the economy that they are involved in.

There are many disturbing instances reported, not only about the ridiculous quality of their products, but on how they badly treat workers in Zimbabwe and how they boast that they are untouchable. In addition, their utter disregard of our environment is evident in Harare.

Remember that, despite China’s wealth, the Chinese are one of the most poor and rural populations in the world. Those who end up in Africa are not necessarily the best of breed there.

This was also the same pattern during colonialism, where Africa was the dumping ground of those who were escaping poverty abroad.

Chinese products that have flooded the Zimbabwean market are certainly cheaper than local ones or those products imported from South Africa, but their quality and durability is atrocious. All one has to do is to walk around Harare shops and witness Chinese imperialism in action.

Our factories are closed and unemployment is high because we have allowed the Chinese unfettered entry into our markets and yet, worldwide, countries are protecting their economies and the livelihoods of their people from Chinese competition.

In my books, the Minister of Trade and Industry has the responsibility to protect Zimbabwe’s borders from unfair trade practices and cheap imports.

Unfortunately, Zimbabwean consumers are also naïve participants in their own underdevelopment. Whatever happened to the Buy Local campaign? I wish I could educate Zimbabweans that, as long as they import cheap goods from China, they are shifting jobs to China.

Of course right now, we have a fundamental problem in that, our factories are unable to meet local demand and prices are quite high due to the cost of capital. However, unless we protect our economy with a very aggressive local industrialisation policy that builds local capacity; we cannot expect this economy to rebound.

Each day, I sit and think about the economic and social costs that have been caused by the ill-conceived policies of Zanu PF over the last couple of years.

From a land reform programme that affected 2 million families and created serious food insecurity that Zimbabweans could not feed themselves, to Operation Murambatsvina that affected
700 000 families to their disastrous monetary policy in 2008 that effectively made every Zimbabwean poor and now to the indigenisation policy that will destroy viable entities and further discourage foreign investment which we desperately need, everything these black men have touched has been a disaster.

Now we have a case where, billions of US dollars that we need to develop our country are going to China on the pretext of fighting imperialism. That is unacceptable.

This makes me really angry because it is the poor Zimbabweans that I see every day that are suffering while the chefs are getting fat.
I shall definitely be writing a book soon on the underdevelopment of Zimbabwe by Zanu PF in partnership with the Chinese, so that our future generations may know the truth and hopefully not repeat the same mistakes.

Wake up, Zimbabwe!

Vince Musewe is an economic analyst based in Harare. You may contact him onvtmusewe@gmail.com

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  1. Marguerite J W White

    This is happening in the UK to and wish that most countries will see China for what it is taking over the world.

  2. I recall a time in the nineties when Supermarkets and Hardware stores were filled with Zimbabwean produced products . They may not have been packaged as well as the imported goods but the quality was almost always superior and significantly cheaper .

  3. Great article. Its a wonderful country and many of the people are great. The Chinese will take anything they can from any country they can.

  4. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to see more posts like this .

  5. Cant wait for the book

  6. Well done Vince. But you have also changed a lot. I remember your tv interview with Supa Mandiwanzira in the 1990s where you seemed to defend what the Zim Govt was doing.

    You see brother, Africa has itself to blame. We were slaves yesterday because the other races found us suitable as slaves. We then were colonized when they realised it was better to take over everything that we called ours. Then they decimated our cultures, language and humanity. Now, we just follow the wind.

    The African “leader” is bereft of any ground breaking initiative except two things – corruption and blood letting. They cannot think at the same level as Barack Obama, the Marktaum family who run Dubai or the Chinese. China needs the resources they are pillaging out of Zim and Africa to achieve their first economy vision. And they have found in Africa’s “leaders” willing subjects to be used like a condom. The corruption tragedy in our country and the continent only makes everything easier for the Chinese. So, they cook us in our own soup.

    If Dubai can leverage its development on future trade and tourism and use this to raise development capital, what of Zimbabwe with USDtrillions of coal reserves, USDtrillions of diamonds reserves, USDtrillions of Gold reserves; USDtrillions of platinum and a host of other minerals the world is looking for with zest? The problem is in the head. As long as they live in those chinese pagodas and get escorted with wailing motorcades, Africa’s “leaders” are through. They live for nothing else. And China knows that. They taught them the art of efficient destraction and never construction. So, China takes advantage and strip Africa clean, while the so called “leaders” tend to their own personal interests.

  7. Look at where most African Leaders got their education from – The West. They tested the sweetness of life in the West. They want association with the west and when they dont get it, in frustration they turn to the East. And remember the East also cherishes this association with the West and what a way to achieve this association through the plunder of our resources – because the East knows their development will make the East – West association achievable.
    Real economic development will come to Zimbabwe when we have Leaders who can prepare the ground work NOW for future generations to use as spring board for economic development.

  8. Wow! This site is sick! How did you make it look this good !?

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