By Leopold Munhende
INFORMATION Minister Monica Mutsvangwa Wednesday appeared fighting in China’s corner, assuring a tiles manufacturer from the Asian economic giant the “xenophobic type” debacle involving the company’s security employee and a local traditional chief will not dent relations between the country and its ally.
Mutsvangwa was speaking during her visit together with two fellow cabinet ministers to Sunny Yi Feng Tiles in Norton where Qiao Shunglong allegedly slapped Chief Chivero after an altercation at the entrance of the factory.
The traditional leader had visited the firm’s premises to solicit for jobs for his subjects.
During her Wednesday visit, Mutsvangwa said Zimbabweans should be tolerant of citizens of the Asian giant who have brought massive investment into their country.
“Zimbabweans are known for their hospitality and warmth and not for bigoted xenophobic diatribe on other nationals based in this country.
“Recent statements reported in the media emanating from different stakeholders do not represent the Zimbabweans’ ethos of acceptance, tolerance of other cultures and races.
“Zimbabwe is happy to have China as an ally, China is a powerful global power which even other powerful nations are keen to befriend,” said the Minister, wife to Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to China, Chris Mutsvangwa.
Following the alleged attack on Chief Chivero, Shunglong was called in for questioning by police and officials from Zimbabwe’s Immigration department.
His employer and Sunny Yi Feng Tiles owner, William Gung described his treatment as political.
Gung accused Chief Chivero of extortion and trying to impose employment policies at the company by forcing him to employ his subjects.
Chinese employers operating in the country have often been accused of being abusive towards their employees with Norton legislator Temba Mliswa often accusing them of beating up, underpaying and sometimes overworking locals.
But Mutsvangwa felt Zimbabweans should exercise patience with the Asians.
“Government urges all Zimbabweans to show their tolerance, hospitality, their love, their friendliness towards the investors that employ our people, support our economy and the call of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to say Zimbabwe is open for business.”
China and Zimbabwe have signed a number of multi-billion dollar deals for investments in different sectors of the Zimbabwean economy.
The Asian giant, which recently unveiled a US$60 billion loan programme for Africa, is building a new parliament for Zimbabwe at Mt. Hampden, Harare.