Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

China the new colonial power in Zimbabwe

A letter from the diaspora, Outside Looking In

By Pauline Henson

Is China the new colonial power in Africa? A map of Africa reveals China’s presence in most if not all African countries and, of late, particularly in Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe will never be a colony, errhh of China again? Mugabe touring Marange diamond mine with the Chinese who are said to be having access to the resource in exchange for arms of war.
Zimbabwe will never be a colony, errhh of China again? Mugabe touring Marange diamond mine with the Chinese who are said to be having access to the resource in exchange for arms of war.

China is under new leadership, Xi Jinping is now head of the Communist party and it remains to be seen exactly where he stands on the question of China’s relationship with Africa. Is it a partnership of equals or is China exploiting Africa for its own benefit?

China vigorously defends its role in Africa, claiming that it has built schools and roads and greatly benefited the African continent’s infrastructure and uplifted the standard of living of Africa’s people.

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s ‘Look East’ policy was the signal for an increase in China’s involvement in Zimbabwe. What was in it for China? For a country desperately short of natural resources, the answer was plain: Zimbabwe is rich in minerals.

Take the diamond industry; speaking in a recent interview, Farai Maguwu, the head of a leading advocacy group, revealed that in practice the diamond industry is 50% owned by the Chinese Anjin company and 40% by the Zimbabwe Defence Industry.

The fact that a foreign company is a major shareholder in one of Zimbabwe’s most lucrative natural resources is surely at odds with Saviour Kasukuwere’s much-touted Indigenisation policy? The Chinese claim there is mutual respect between the indigenous Zimbabweans and the Chinese but that is not immediately evident.

As for the Chinese bringing employment to Zimbabwe, that is a moot point since they often bring their own workers who are unable to speak the local language, thus limiting communication with the local people and increasing the possibility of resentment against these ‘foreigners’ who have come into their area.

If that is not direct colonialism it certainly bears a close resemblance to the bad old days of British occupation of Africa when communication was limited to the vernacular language of master and servant.

One of the major side-effects of mining is the effect on the local population.

With the discovery of Marange’s diamonds in 2006, a vast area was under threat. Originally calculated at 70.000 hectacres the area of the Marange diamond mine is now reckoned to be more than 120.000 hectares with more mineral exploration going on.

Moving people who have known no other home for their entire lives is an explosive issue but not one that local or foreign journalists are allowed to report. A veil of secrecy hangs over the Marange project but some things cannot be hidden. The environmental damage is plain for all to see as local rivers are polluted and the once clear Save river is now no more than a muddy and polluted stream.

In addition, the peace of the African bush is broken by the noise of heavy traffic day and night. The area’s rich wild life has disappeared and the only beneficiaries of all this activity are the military and the Chinese-owned diamond company.

Meanwhile, a new diamond technology centre is being built at Mount Hampden in Harare which promises an incredible 40.000 new jobs. For the 90% of the population who are unemployed that is good news, if the figures are accurate!

For the majority of Zimbabwe’s people, the diamonds have brought them nothing but for Robert Mugabe, all this diamond wealth is good news; he has the diamond-rich generals on side, access to limitless cash to win the next election and the wherewithal to buy patronage.

Mugabe said at his party conference that he wants nothing less than “sole control” of the country. The helicopters hovering over the Conference centre for the duration of the party conference were a reminder to everyone that he means it.

Mugabe is determined to win at all costs and diamond wealth will help ensure he does just that. No doubt his friends, the Chinese, will be very happy with an electoral result that keeps him in power.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.

  • Stella Mtetwa

    eish maChina nema India haa zvakaoma

  • China shall be africas 1st friend in business.we shall oppen our own markets and refinarys.we will call it the shifting point of the world power.passi nemaamericans nemabritish.

  • Melo Muvingi

    Makatarisa maChina achiwomora hupfumi.

  • i share the same view,everywhr yu see the chinese parkin by the roadside,they are pointing and partitioning the land of our forefather…only time will tell,Zimbabwe will be a colony soon!

  • Nothing wrong with these Chinese they are helping nyika yaora ,hanti varikugadzira maroads

  • Douglas Mhizha-Shayanewako

    Rubbish, China knows and respects the owners if the means if production. China seeks partnerships in Africa yet Europe sought ownership, enslavement and control.

  • Elixir Rawhad

    Iwe victoria usade kuti wudza tsvina pano, iyi nyay takagadzirira kana kuifira ! Machina hatimade muZimbabwe kana kuri kuhondo ini ndinoenda ! Machina imbwa dzevanhu, mira uone mugabe akangobva pachigaro, nyika ikatongwa nevaridzi vayo takatomirira ne xenophobia against mazhingas, ngavadzokere kutsvina yenyika yavo !

  • Blessing Chakandivenga Madoro

    our country’s infrustructure is so shameful let the chinese upgrade our zim bcoz they hev machines and knowledge

  • facts please

    just f off if u don’t have shit to say…pathetic!!!

  • The whole world is looking east these days including the Usa and europe. Funny isnt it. In Zim however i think its gone a bit too far. On the weekend we went to the lake for our company christmas party just next door to the national sports stadium is a huge building that has been put up. At the gates are sculptures of huge chinese dragons. If you were to take a picture of this building someone would swear it was taken in china. Just down the road from there is our national hero s monument. The dragons are repeated elsewhere around harare. Now if this is not colonization what is? This has to be stopped in its tracks. Zimbabwe must never be a colony again and especially not of China please!

  • Very soon zim will be called zhimbabwe by zhing zhongs

    • Anonymous


  • Edwin Magusvini

    Whether China or europeans andivade bcoz vese imbavha .

  • Barbara Mhangami

    Yes , savior just recently refused a white guy to import chickens from his farm in SAfrica for his KFC chain touting promotion of local industries. What are they doing about the unprecedented Chinese influx and all the problems? They bring their ow crews to build roads! Where are Zimbabwean workers??? I hate hypocrisy!!! Mxim! Wait till they start killing us of with toxins in the products they sell us!

  • One of my workmates lost hand at the Chinese factory on the 30th of Nov last month,but now they are refusing to compensate him

  • Anotida Takura Kabasa

    Vanounza mabasa api?.they are coming open up a small shop yaanotengesa mafong kong ari ega mushop kana nyika yacho ingakurewo here.

  • Anotida Takura Kabasa

    Vanounza mabasa api?.they are coming open up a small shop yaanotengesa mafong kong ari ega mushop kana nyika yacho ingakurewo here.

  • Thulani William Dengure

    inga ma1 chaiwo.

  • ophious gweru

    tichavarova nerekeni zvedu kana nyika taitora

  • Anonymous

    machina imbudzi havana development same as indians tumashop twavano employa hama dzavo. to hell with them. mabirishiti are better colonisers.

  • wilddong

    The chinese “think of themselves” as a world leader, as power nation, because of the big economics leaps they made in the past years, they want to compete with the euros and the americans for the leadership cake,and Zim is just a small country in africa. So when zim is a small nation somewhere, what kind of parnership is that. They dont see Zimbabwe as a partner, not even in a small way. They are using the Communistic background of the ruling party to gain ground. Their real challenges (!what they think!) are the euros and america, and zim is only a source for materials they need to build their empire. But its only a bling bling super power, because they have so many people living under the poverty line, who they dont want the world to know about. Just a bunch of cheats.

    Zimbabwe is far much better of than china, but they want to keep us blinded, by offering small help here and there to please the decision makers. Zimbabweans must stand up as a nation.