By Pride Mkono
I am no racist but I take great exception at harboring criminals especially those of the extreme order. Let me put my case into perspective.
Starting 2008, the government of Zimbabwe moved in to ‘formalise’ the exploitation of diamonds at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange, Manicaland.
The process to ‘formalise’ the mining of diamonds was basically one of setting in motion the wheel of primitive accumulation of the ruling elites and their foreign counter parts. In variably the process was essentially a war against the artisanal miners, most of whom were young people who had fallen victim to the Mugabe regime engineered unemployment.
Soldiers, riot police and the feared central intelligence organisation’s operatives were deployed to the diamond fields. Hundreds thousands of youths were murdered in the ensuing conflict and in addition thousands of indigenous inhabitants of the area were brutally dispersed without compensation.
After the violent takeover of the diamond fields by state thugs, the next stage was a time for partition and sharing of the spoils. The state had provided the necessary violence and the foreign handlers the much needed cash, it was dinner for two.
Prior to the use of heartless force, the regime had just engaged in one of the worst cases of electoral chicanery, in which case they had in the sight of all rigged the 2008 Presidential elections results.
After the rigging of the poll and in clear anticipation of citizen unrest, the regime’s all whether friends, the Chinese had provided a shipment full of arms for use quashing any uprising.
In retrospect, one can see that the arms were also for clearing the way for Chinese capital in the Marange diamond fields.
Joint ventures to exploit the precious mineral we hastily set up with the government, through the Zimbabwe Mineral Development Cooperation (ZMDC), having a 50% stake in each of the 8 companies operating there. Whether this was true or not was never ascertained as the deals were done in secrecy so much that even parliament was never allowed oversight.
However, it was apparent that a lot of shenanigans were happening behind the closed doors.
One of the largest companies operating there was a Chinese concern going by the name Anjin Pvt Ltd, which was later revealed to be a joint venture of the Chinese and the military.
The Zimbabwean military elite was essentially the ones benefiting from this arrangement and had in any case gained valuable lessons in looting from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war in which the military top brass is accused of having master minded one of the largest known loots by an African army in that sorry country formally known as Zaire.
As for the Chinese, their appetite for precious metals and dodgy deals with discredited regimes is all in the public record.
The Chinese had prior to that engaged in multi-billion dollar deals with regimes such Dos Santos’s regime in Angola were oil deals worth billions were being signed in the Cabinda enclave while thousands of citizens were being massacred for dissent.
In any case, the global financial crisis of 2007/08 had left the Chinese in poll position to drive world economic growth on the back of accessing cheap raw materials from African countries. Put simply, the collapse of Western markets had opened the door for Chinese Imperialism to grow and flourish.
So it is clear that the exploitation, if it can be termed as such, of diamonds in Chiadzwa was an El Dorado of the big interests of (Chinese) capital and the insatiable greed of tyrannical local political elites.
Disaster had been sown, tragedy would be reaped.
So when the time of the Government of National Unity (GNU) came, it was hoped that Zimbabwe would to return to normalcy but alas criminality thrived in the top echelons of power.
It was Minister Tendai Biti who became a voice in the wilderness calling for transparency in diamond revenue. However his call as did all reasoning from anyone who cared to talk about diamonds fell on deaf ears.
And so it was that the Chinese criminals in cahoots with their local cohorts took total control of diamond exploitation and exportation while the nation got a big NOTHING.
And the diamond sector was not the only area which the Chinese took control of, they invaded all sectors of the economy acquiring huge investments for a song.
One such area is the strategic tobacco sector.
Chinese companies set up shop (without any papers) and engaged local small holder farmers as contractors, taking advantage of the cheap labour offered by the newly resettled farmers. The result was that the Chinese reaped massive profits while most tobacco farmers obtained just enough money to keep them on the poverty leash.
The Chinese have also been providing dubious loans for various investments targeted at providing markets for their companies especially in the infrastructure development arena, talk of the highly inflated Kariba South hydro-power plant, the US$1.2 billion Hwange power plant deal, the US$144 million Harare water works deal among many others.
With absolutely no shame, the Chinese have gone into every sector including restaurant where they are selling Sadza (Zimbabwean staple food) to locals, they are evening running some very mischievous brothels. There is no end to their interests!…To be Continued
In the next instalment, this blogger looks further at how the Chinese ‘thieves’ have invaded and corrupted Zimbabwe.
Pride Mkono is an environmentalist, social justice activist and youth leader. He writes here on his own capacity and can be contacted at [email protected] and tweets @pridemkono.