By Staff Reporter
UNITED KINGDOM-based lawyer and academic Alex Magaisa has questioned the recent decision made by Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun to present coronavirus donations to the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation instead of the Health Ministry.
Magaisa said giving urgent required COVID-19 material to Mnangagwa was creating unnecessary bureaucracy and seeking political mileage while people’s lives were at risk.
Zimbabwe has 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases including four deaths.
This week, the Chinese embassy in Harare wrote; “Chinese companies, Sichuan PD Times Technology Co. and Huawei, handed over 50,000 masks, 510 protective suits and 1,000 goggles to Angel of Hope Foundation. Honoured to work with the First Lady to serve people.”
However, Magaisa felt the donation should have been directed with urgency to the Health Ministry, which was dealing directly with COVID-19 patients and working on preventing the spread of the virus in communities.
He said the Chinese nationals in Harare were using the First Lady as their political ladder to get closer to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“To capture the heart of the highest office. They probably discovered that power or at least influence, rests in the other half, and, therefore, her happiness is the best path to the leader’s heart and mind.
“Now they come through a non-state actor which is related to the country’s CEO when the State entities exist, indeed when the World Health Organisation and UNDP exist. We can see through the veil. Zimbabweans are not in the 19th century and they certainly aren’t stupid,” said Magaisa.
He said it was also disgusting for a giant Chinese company, such as Huawei Technologies, to be exempted from paying taxes in Zimbabwe, revenue which could be channeled to mobilising resources for COVID-19.
“Ambassador, thank you but with respect, please note that unlike some people you deal with, we are not stupid. Why can’t Huawei just pay its taxes dating back to 2009? We know from our history how gifts and trinkets were used to lure our unsuspecting leaders in the 19th century,” he added.
Last year, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube exempted Huawei Technologies from paying its taxes dating back to 2009.