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FORMER Finance Minister Tendai Biti has blasted the recent visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying Chinese investment in Zimbabwe was akin to a second colonisation.
Biti, who was treasury chief in the last coalition government, now leads the opposition Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking at a press conference held after the appointment of PDP’s national secretaries, Biti said Jinping’s visit was not different from the 1890’s Pioneer Column’s invasion of Zimbabwe.
“This week’s visit by Chinese US and other Chinese top leaders is no different from Cecil John Rhodes-led Pioneer column which effected the colonization of our country and put it through almost 100 years of bondage,” he said.
“Like Rhodes, Jinping is coming at a time when his own version of Charles Rudd has secured various concessions mortgaging our mineral wealth and chaining us to the yoke of debt.
“Just like Rhodes, Jinping has come to Zimbabwe but his interests are to spread the Chinese empire from Cape to Cairo,” said the former Finance Minister.
The Chinese leader passed through Zimbabwe on his way to South Africa for the China Africa forum.
He signed deals worth more than $4 billion with Harare, according to state media
Pivot to China
At the turn of the millennium, President Robert Mugabe started looking to China for support after falling out with former backers in the West over his land reforms, allegations of poll fraud and poor human rights record.
Speaking as he played host the leader of the world’s second largest economy, Mugabe said, with the rest of the world, including the major powers, looking East, his pivot towards China had been vindicated.
“Today the whole world is looking east, including those who in 2000 chided us for that policy,” Mugabe said.
But Biti said the coming of the Chinese was akin to Cecil John Rhodes’s Cape to Cairo dream which sought to take over the whole of Africa.
He insisted that the Chinese were simply replacing the country’s former British colonisers and exposing Mugabe’s much-vaunted ‘Zimbabwe will never be a colony again mantra’.
“I have never agreed with Zanu PF. But on this point I would like to agree; Zimbabwe shall never be a colony again!” said Biti to the applause of hundreds of his party members.
2016 budget fiction
The PDP leader also took a swipe at the recent budget by Finance Minister saying the conditions under which the economy was performing did not allow for any economic growth.
“For our economy to function there is need for agriculture and energy to function. An economy functions on energy or power. In Zambia companies are closing because there is no power,” he said.
“Look in Zimbabwe, 6,000 companies have closed, 40,000 people are unemployed how do they want the economy to grow under such circumstances.
“Anyone who believes this budget will save us are either they are lying, drunk, dishonest or both,” he said.
Biti said Zimbabweans should not celebrate anything from the new budget since it was “fictious”.
“The budget was $4 billion. $500 million will be borrowed. This US$4 billion budget is fiction.” he said. source-newzimbabwe