Who would not have loved living in a world where each and every country – like the good neighbour – minded their own business, never poked their unwelcome noses into the goings on in others’ territories, and did not seek to impose their own ideologies on smaller nations, whilst plundering their resources for their own benefit, at the expense of the robbed owners?
That would have truly been an ideal world. A world, unfortunately, that is non-existent…not even for the Chinese, who have sought to deceive everyone into believing that they were made from a different cloth, as they never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries.
They may fool everyone else on this planet – but, most certainly, not the people of Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular – who have had to witness the ugly, ruthless, and plundering head of this world’s second largest economic powerhouse, whose destructive and parasitic fangs have manifested themselves in our lives, like the fairytale vampire, sucking us of our blood, whilst turning our national leaders into some sort of zombies, who no longer have a free will, but obey, without question, any instructions from Beijing.
For the people of Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, it is akin to the proverbial, “out of the pan, into the fire”, as we have hardly experienced any moment of reprieve from the menacing, choking, and even fatal tentacles of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism – from the days of the Arabs, then came the Europeans and their allies, and now we have the Chinese – all who have erroneously regarded us as some mindless, soulless, and primitive people, who can be abused, subjugated, and deprived of our God-given rights and resources as if we did not know what to use them for, and they were more entitled to them than us.
As much as we fought gallantly and relentlessly – in the process, losing thousands of lives in Zimbabwe – for our independence from British colonialism, our leaders, in the process, sold their souls to the Chinese (through their provision of military material and training support for the armed liberation struggle) and as such, they have, ever since, been in their (Chinese) debt.
Actually, the very fact that China was deeply involved in our independence struggle is enough to throw out of the window any illusions that they did not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.
However, in spite of a two decade post-independence flirtatious relationship with the West – whereby, the Zimbabwe regime were awarded carte blanche to wantonly and cold-bloodedly massacre over 20,000 innocent civilians in the Matebeleland and Midlands provinces, whilst the leadership of then ruthless tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe was being heralded in Washington DC, and London as examplary, with his knighting by the queen of England – this was short-lived, and quickly turned toxic, after the murderous land reform program in the early 2000s, which resulted in Harare seeking refugee in the arms of their former benefactors, who had obviously been feeling rather betrayed by this West-Zimbabwe marriage, in spite of the Chinese liberation struggle investment.
As in any other relationship borne out of desperation, and even a need for protection from powerful enemies – Zimbabwe’s involvement with the Chinese has been anything but equal and fair – as the Asian superpower has virtually turned its southern African poodle into a shameful lapdog, that would do anything for its master.
Even Mugabe learnt this lesson the hard way, when he made the ‘mistake’ of chasing the Chinese away from mining diamonds in the Manicaland province – after his famous “US$15 billion missing from diamond revenue” statement – which many believe was the main trigger for the November 2017 coup d’etat, mainly suspected to have received Chinese backing.
What has the Zimbabwean authorities not done for the Chinese – from dishing them dubious mining rights, including the restoration of those previously cancelled by Mugabe in Manicaland (and, even within preserved national parks, and communal areas where the local population has been abused and displaced, without so much as any significant benefit from their own resources, whilst workers treated more like indentured slaves, as well as wanton environmental degradation which is beyond measure), to the highly suspicious procurement for the questionable Sinopharm vaccine, that the vast majority of the citizenry has expressed distrust and disdain for, and less than willing to be administered.
Ask the native people of Manicaland province (mainly in Chiadzwa and Marange) how they feel about the Chinese, who were assisted by the military backed Zimbabwean junta in cruelly and even murderously dispossessing them of their ancestral land – in order to pillage billions upon billions of US dollars worth of their God-given diamonds, yet never benefiting anything themselves – but, instead dumped to a life of suffering and poverty away from their fields and forefathers’ and mothers’ graves.
Ask anyone who has had the misfortune of working for a Chinese company, and all they have are traumatic experiences at the hands of these cold-hearted masters, who appear worse racists than our previous colonizers – characterized by numerous reports of their savage beating up, and even fatal shooting, on top of being paid what the locals call ‘peanuts’.
To add insult to injury, the Zimbabwe authorities have always been more than prepared to jump to the defence of their abusive Chinese masters – acting more like their sales, marketing, and public relations officers (even in the face of a COVID-19 vaccine that has effectively been rejected by the overwhelming majority, and a citizenry that is fed up with the persistent abuse, and destruction of their motherland), than leaders who are supposed to defend and protect the independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of this country.
In all this invasion, occupation, and subjugation of our beautiful and great country, there are those who appear to have been deceived into not seeing, or acknowledging, what is truly going on – as they fail to perceive, or merely refuse to perceive, the modern and more sophisticated nature of this new form of imperialism, which is completely different and more astute than the 19th century Western ‘invade and conquer’ approach.
As much as the Chinese did not get off a ship, armed to the teeth with more advanced weaponry than the locals, and attempting to either dupe our leaders into submission, or if that failed, use brute force – they certainly employed a new type of ‘smart colonialism’, that is deceptively packaged as win-win partnership, yet by every sober-minded person’s view, is nothing more than a partnership between a horse and the rider…and no points for guessing who the rider is.
As with our previous colonizers, it is time that the people of Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, firmly stood their ground in rejecting their continued subjugation and colonization at the hands of foreign powers – as we have had enough, and it is time that we truly wrote our own story and took full charge of the affairs of our countries.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and speaker. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Calls: +263715667700, or Calls Only: +263782283975 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured