Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Ministers in Russia amid ‘discord’ over minerals

By Nomalanga Moyo

A Zimbabwean ministerial delegation is in Russia to explore joint venture opportunities in mineral exploration, according to the State media reports.

Walter Chidhakwa
Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa left the country Sunday to try and woo Russian investors. Russia already has a presence in the country’s mining sector but the Zim government wants more it appears.

This is Chinamasa’s second trip abroad in just a fortnight following his recent visit to China to negotiate a multi-billion dollar rescue package for the country.

The China trip sparked acrimony within ZANU PF, with officials clashing over what exactly Zimbabwe wants from China, the South African Mail & Guardian newspaper reported recently.

It seems the officials cannot agree on whether they want China to give them direct budgetary support, lines of credit, loans, the mortgaging of minerals, developmental projects or foreign direct investment.

“Besides, there is a problem of some people wanting to be involved even though they have no capacity, contacts and networks in China to help the process move forward,” a foreign affairs official told the M&G.

Discussions over the rescue package have been on-going for some, with the ruling party pinning its hopes for the implementation of ZimAsset on the loan.

If successful, the ruling party will receive at least $10 billion from China, and Beijing has already demanded that Zimbabwe uses its minerals as collateral.

China already has a stranglehold on the country’s minerals sector where it has entered into various partnerships with ZANU PF officials.

Some within the ruling party seem to be developing cold feet over what they now admit is mortgaging the country to China to the disadvantage of future generations.

Harare-based economist Vince Musewe said he does not believe the reported discord is about a genuine desire to preserve mineral wealth for future generations.

According to Musewe, ZANU PF officials are too corrupt and irresponsible and will even mortgage the country for generations just for short-term gain.

“Everyone wants access to that money and this is what the bickering is about. So at a giveaway price of $10 billion they are prepared to hand over everything in the country to China.

“I think as Zimbabweans we should approach the courts to challenge the unconstitutionality of these deals because it is Zimbabwean taxpayers who will be paying, it’s our children,” Musewe added. SW Radio Africa