China to attend Zanu congress

HARARE - The Chinese Communist Party has been invited the Zanu (PF) special congress this month but, not surprisingly, no Western ruling party is welcome in Harare.

In a stark reminder of how Beijing’s “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” policy was wining it the battle for the hearts and minds of Africa’s leaders, Zanu (PF) officials said the Communist Party and a pack of other Asian ruling parties were invited because they were considered friendly to Mugabe’s party.

Ruling parties from European Union (EU) countries and other Western nations that have criticised Mugabe’s controversial human rights record are viewed as “enemies’ and were excluded from the four-day conference whose main business is to endorse the 83-year old Zimbabwean leader as candidate in next year’s presidential election.

“We have invited those countries and organisations that have cordial relations with Zimbabwe and the party,” said Kumbirai Kangai, party secretary for foreign relations.

Mugabe has cultivated relations with Asian countries as part of his government’s “Look-East” policy since Western countries imposed targeted sanctions on his government five years ago over his failure to uphold human rights and democracy.

However, analysts are skeptical over China’s intentions, saying rather than seeking genuine partnership Beijing looked more attracted to Zimbabwe’s huge platinum and uranium deposits it needs to keep fuelling its rapidly expanding economy.

Other notable invitees to the congress are the ruling parties of Namibia, Angola Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi and Democratic Republic of the Congo – all allies of Mugabe and Zanu (PF). – ZimOnline

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