from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – CHINA’S participation in Zimbabwe’s economy, as part of the host government’s ‘Look East’ policy, has lurched into more crises amid a mining company reportedly hiring 100 Chinese at the expense of locals.
Huayou Cobalt is at the centre of the controversy.
When it acquired a stake in Australian-listed Prospect Resources’ Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, there were already mixed feelings about the take-over.
There were however qualms that the involvement of the Chinese meant few rewards for local benefits, especially if the manner in which the take-over was conducted.
Prospect controls Zimbabwe’s Arcadia Mine, which is into energy minerals outside the capital, Harare.
Some of the areas impacted by the presence of Chinese recently include Dinde in Hwange, Mutoko and lately Goromonzi, both in Mashonaland East province where Huayou Cobalt is facing a threat of massive protests from local communities, various stakeholders and civil society organisations.
The atmosphere is increasingly getting tense, sparked by unemployed local youths alongside the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Union (ZCTU).
They are reportedly planning to demonstrate at the lithium mine, according to reports from the two local communities.
CCC is an offshoot of the Movement for Democratic Change.
In a separate interview, CCC Deputy President, Tendai Biti, “They (Chinese) are taking over communal land in most areas yet they wouldn’t allow an African in their country to do like they are doing here.
He accused the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) – led government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of turning a blind eye.
He said: “Zimbabwe does not benefit from the Chinese presence and as we speak 95 percent of people are not employed yet they (Chinese) import labour.”
Nelson Chamisa, president of the CCC has announced the party, once elected, would revisit all mining permits and concessions issued by the government.
“Those not done properly and according to the law, and in the best interest of Zimbabweans, will be reviewed,” Biti said.
It is widely suspected that the United States of America (USA), which is involved in direct competition with China as global economic giants, is behind these sponsored protests.
The Zimbabwean government has also previously accused Western nations of sponsoring the opposition and non-governmental organisation as part of a regime change agenda.
– CAJ News