By Benjamin Chitate
As if irked by the travel to China by Zimbabwean Prime Morgan Tsvangirai, the Herald is on the war path, attacking him from left, right and centre.
The Herald first reported on 22 May 2012 that the Prime Minister was travelling to China at the invitation of the Chinese Government following the hosting of the Chief Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office for three months by the same Chinese Government.
It would appear then, that the Chinese Government recognises the office of the Prime Minister, or they are aware there is a very high likelihood that the current Prime Minister will win the next election, and want to prepare ground to do business with the next government.
In its 24 May edition, the Herald attacks Prime Minister Tsvangirai for taking with him a 31-member delegation on the visit, which, according to the Herald, has a lot of sightseeing tours.
What the Herald did not report was whether the itinerary was prepared by the host, the Chinese Government who it reported invited the Prime Minister, or by the Prime Minister’s office, but reading through the story, the Herald was trying to imply that there wasn’t much business the 31-member delegation was going to discuss as most of the time will be spent sightseeing.
The 31-member delegation Prime Minister Tsvangirai is taking on a trip that involves meeting with Chinese companies, is nowhere near the size of the delegation President Mugabe takes with him to the United Nations gatherings, where there won’t be opportunities to meet with business executives.
In my opinion, the visit to China should be used as an opportunity to tell the Chinese government what they are doing wrong. A few months ago, for instance, the Chinese Government donated food aid reportedly worth over $14 million to Zimbabwe through the Minister of Agriculture, Comrade Joseph Made.
Food aid is a welfare issue, and that donation should best have been channeled through the ministry responsible for welfare issues. Zanu PF uses food aid as a political tool, so that has to be highlighted during the Prime Minister’s visit.
It should also be an opportunity for inform the Chinese Government about the failure by Chinese company Anjin to remit proceeds from diamond sales to treasury as should be the practice so that the Chinese, if it has a part to play in resolving that scandal, will do so and income starts flowing in to help develop Zimbabwe.
The Chinese Government must be told in very strong terms that investors from China will not be welcome if they dabble in the country’s politics. All pro-development Zimbabweans will be waiting to hear upon the return of the delegation what opportunities were identified that would help develop the country.
Most importantly, the Herald team must realise that even the Chinese have changed their attitude towards the Movement for Democratic Change, and they (the Herald) should not be the last to change.
Benjamin Chitate, New Zealand
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