Vigil condemns Zanu’s Chinese takeaway

Everyone who wishes Zimbabwe well must be worried at indications that Zanu (PF), desperate for money to keep afloat, is preparing to mortgage the country’s natural resources to secure a Chinese takeaway.

We at the Vigil urge the many MDCs to at least unite on this one platform: warn China that when a democratic government comes to power, as it eventually must, any such deal will be repudiated under the internationally recognised principle of odious debt. This basically means that the debt was not incurred to benefit the people but only the regime of the day.

China, which has lent $1.5 billion to Harare over the last three years, is now insisting on serious collateral for loans of the size required to keep Zanu (PF) in power.

There is talk of a financial package of $10 billion – small change for China but big enough for them to demand big concessions in return.

This could involve giving China virtually sovereign powers over their operations in Zimbabwe. After all, China will have to invest billions more to exploit the resources because of Zimbabwe’s dilapidated infrastructure.

To put this into perspective: an American company is trying to buy Britain’s second biggest pharmaceutical company and its current unacceptable offer is more than $100 billion. Mugabe acts as if he is a power in the world; the reality is that he is a mere tick.

But Zanu (PF) is desperate for any money they can get hold of. The Vigil believes that little of this will trickle down to the people. If they get this Chinese bailout, we will see two parallel economies in Zimbabwe: an extractive one entirely run by the Chinese with no interference by the indigenous, and an ‘indigenous’ one bearing increasing resemblance to that of North Korea – cowed, brainwashed and desperately poor.

It is to prevent this national betrayal that the Vigil urges resistance to the mortgaging of our resources. There is an alternative: ditch the indigenisation policy, honour agreements, promote the rule of law and end the rhetoric of hate. Transparent foreign investment is the only way the country can be rebuilt. This is the true win-win option.

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