PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s upcoming State visit to China is likely to bring him face to face with angry businesspeople from the Asian giant whom his government included in a list of “looters” who externalized millions.
Government, over a week ago, released a list of companies fronted by hundreds of Chinese nationals and companies. The release of the list has left the Chinese embassy in Harare seething with anger and Consular Zhao Boagang did little to hide it at a press briefing Friday.
“The list is not credible; there are many loopholes,” he said in a near 10 minute rant.
Boagang, however, said the Chinese will engage government on the issue and it seems with Mnangagwa set to meet up with investors from that country during his State visit the matter could be top of the agenda.
“It is not just the Chinese (who are not happy) many people feel the same. Even local businesspeople have complained that their names were put on that list without being consulted, they never violated any law only that they had unfinished transactions.
“We respect President Mnangagwa, follow his guidance but need to resolve the issue. But many people are arguing that the list is a violation of the law,” the Chinese deputy envoy to Harare said.
Boagang was not done just yet including an unsolicited take on the US, China’s economic competitor on the global stage.
“Do not point fingers at people especially at the Chinese. We believe you (Zimbabwe) can make a full investigation into this issue and certainly we feel that under President Mnangagwa’s leadership we can find a solution. The other thing is you find that there are few or no Americans on the list because they have not invested in this country.
“Chinese have invested that is why you find them on the list. Some Western politicians come to Africa and point fingers at the Chinese from airports and buildings constructed by the Chinese. We don’t care and nobody is going to stop the trajectory our relationship with Zimbabwe is taking. If you do nothing you are a saint, you do not make mistakes,” said Boagang.
He added: “We are not afraid of making mistakes and never afraid of criticism, we don’t care. But Zimbabwe must have a clear sight of who is their friend. You must be able to tell who is trying to poison the relationship. Do not miss the forest and target the tree”.
Mnangagwa is hoping China will help him kick start an economy that is literary in a vegetative State after being run into the ground by his predecessor Robert Mugabe’s 37 year political experiment.