In its 24 May edition, the Herald attacked the PM for taking a 31-member delegation with him, and that the visit included a lot of sightseeing tours. What it did not report was whether the itinerary was prepared by the host, the Chinese Government, or by the PM’s office. Reading the story, the Herald was trying to imply not much business would be done.
The PM’s delegation is nowhere near the size of the one President Mugabe takes with him to United Nations gatherings, where there are no opportunities to meet with business executives. In my opinion, the visit to China should be used as an opportunity to tell that government what they are doing wrong. A few months ago, for instance, they donated food aid reportedly worth over $14 million through the Minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made. Food aid is a welfare issue, and that donation should have been channelled through the ministry responsible for welfare issues. It has been proved that Zanu (PF) uses food aid as a political tool, so that should be highlighted during the visit. It should also be an opportunity to inform the Chinese Government about the failure by Chinese company Anjin to remit proceeds from diamond sales to the treasury. They must be told in very strong terms that investors from China will not be welcome if they dabble in our politics.
All pro-development Zimbabweans will be waiting to hear upon the return of the delegation what opportunities were identified that would help develop the country. – Benjamin Chitate, New Zealand