Mnangagwa says I am not a crocodile, I am Shumba


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Q: So you’re open to everyone.

A: Yes.

Q: China’s relationship with Africa has expanded massively in recent years and Zimbabwe’s had a very good relationship with Beijing. But there have been the critics. Thabo Mbeki when he was president sounded a note of caution. He suggested there is a risk of a new colonial relationship. Do you agree?

A: From what I know — I am a graduate from a (Chinese) military school. There’s no history of colonisation by the Chinese — except Tibet might argue on that score. There’s no indication of (China) colonising any country. They may have different reasons for their embracing the continent, the African continent, because they’re offering various platforms for funding. From their point of view they may have other reasons why they’re doing it. In my view, I think they would also want to have markets. And Africa, the continent is over a billion now. And the huge economy would want to participate in that market of that number. And of course, in terms of influence, most African countries are reluctant and wary about their relations with . . . Most want to break away, like we did ourselves with the British. But now we feel more strong in that issues, the British should now respect us. They know Zimbabwe is quite independent, the independent thinking, and their own . . . At that score we can relate and move forward. So I believe that China would also want a foothold of influence on the African continent, but through economic relations, economic co-operation, rather than political and domination of that nature. I think this is how they look at it. From our point of view, in particular from Zimbabwe’s point of view, this is a country that has stood by us in critical times, and will continue to relate to them. And for my administration, I’ll be going to China in April. I hope when I go there to be able to negotiate mega-deals in the area of infrastructure development, the construction of railways in the new networks in Zimbabwe. Dualisation of the highways in Zimbabwe. Also, attracting the Chinese in the area of agriculture where we need to do beneficiation. Although, in some cases, they would want to take the raw materials to China. But we would want to pursue them, no, the companies should come here. And also, we are aware, with over 400 British companies in Zimbabwe, but most of them went down, they suffered, because when sanctions were imposed they stopped financing and supporting the domestic British companies in Zimbabwe and they’ve gone down. They are very much behind in terms of the machinery and the tools. There has not been any retooling of these factories. So that point is that most of the machinery in China, they range from the poorest into the best. You can go low, you can go middle, you can go high-tech. With China.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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