‘Chinese looting our minerals’
THE MEMBER of Parliament for Uzumba, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Zanu PF) has urged Parliament to investigate the farming operations of Chinese businessmen in Zimbabwe amid allegations that they are illegally harvesting minerals from the country.
Mudarikwa said Zimbabwe was losing significant revenue in mining operations disguised as agro-businesses which is contrary to the leases the Chinese nationals hold.
“The problem with what our Chinese colleagues are doing is that instead of concentrating on farming, they are mining illegally within those farms where they are farming,” the MP told Parliament this Thursday.
“They Chinese do the farming, of course, but there is illegal mining going on within those farms. One would like to know where the gold and platinum is going when people move in on ten year leases pretending that they are there to farm.
“The Chinese are very good in saying that you must not trespass into the area where they are farming.
“In other words, it is very difficult to observe some of these misdemeanours but this is a fact Mr Speaker, that I have observed as I travel to my rural area, that Chinese farmers are abusing the land that they are leasing.”
Chinese investors and the Beijing government have become key players in the Zimbabwean economy after President Robert Mugabe pivoted east after falling out with western countries.
The local economy has struggled since the West shut its doors on Mugabe, angered by his often- violent land reforms as well as political repression and human rights abuses.
Mugabe has pinned hopes of economic recovery ahead of crunch elections in 2018 on support from China but not much of the mega-billion dollar investment deals he reportedly agreed with the Beijing leadership have taken off.