GOVERNMENT’S quietness to recurring reports of Chinese investors breaching local labour laws as well as terrorising villagers in mineral resource-rich areas is quite unsettling.
There has been a worrying trend in the country where villagers are terrorised by so-called Chinese investors, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa paying a blind ear to locals’ concerns.
Cases of abuse have also been reported in mines and construction companies operated by Chinese investors, but government has curiously adopted a see no evil, hear no evil stance when it comes to its all-weather friends.
Mnangagwa has instead continued to grant the Chinese exclusive mining rights even in national parks, sacred shrines and along river beds, which are no-go areas for local investors.
Granted, the Zimbabwe-China relationship dates back to the liberation war era where the Asian country provided material support to the southern African nation, but that should be no excuse for them to abuse Zimbabweans and plunder their resources.
On Tuesday, when he toured the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport which is being refurbished by a Chinese company, Mnangagwa heaped praises on Zimbabwe’s all-weather friends for standing by his administration during difficult times.
He said he was unfazed by critics of China, because the superpower had continued to extend help to Zimbabwe in the form of loans, despite the latter’s known record of being a bad debtor.
Clearly, the country has been mortgaged and Zimbabweans are still far from benefiting from their mineral resources, while foreigners connected to a few political elite plunder the resources.
The reality is that China does not even offer Zimbabweans the same privileges the Asians enjoy here. In China, it is almost impossible to start a business without a clear plan of how the business will help the Chinese people.
China does not allow foreigners to commit crimes and stay without consequences. Mnangagwa should know that there are better ways of trading with China without stealing from the future.
Zimbabweans have suffered long enough and having foreigners loot their mineral resources and abusing them at workplaces only serve to remind them of their bitter past under British colonial rule, and this cannot be accepted.
Let it be loud and clear to Mnangagwa that the role of government is to protect its citizens.