HARARE’S Ward 16 Councilor, Denford Ngadziore says Chinese loans being advanced to the City of Harare will only serve to further exploit the country while the water infrastructure remains undeveloped.
Ngadziore said there is need to review the Chinese loans and joint ventures being entered into by the central and local government ‘before it’s too late’.
“For nearly two decades, various local authorities in Zimbabwe have been getting Chinese loans but we have nothing to show for that. We could actually be selling our country to the Chinese without any infrastructural development to show.
“Going forward, there is need to review all central and local government joint ventures with the Chinese before it’s too late,” said Ngadziore.
In October 2019, government approved the signing of water deals worth US$868 Million between the Harare City Council and Chinese firms. As part of the water loans, the government will act as the guarantor while the Harare City Council will cede land as collateral.
The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has already made calls for transparency and accountability on the US$868 Million deal citing the abuse of the previous US$144 Million water loan that had been advanced to council by the Chinese.
On the $144 Million loan, the Chinese ended up withholding the remaining US$72 Million after the first batch had been abused and what followed was a blame game between government and council.
Ngadziore said there is a growing trend of African countries that have been receiving Chinese loans becoming increasingly poor hence the need for Zimbabwe to review the Chinese loans.
“It has become clear that all African countries getting loans from China are not progressing. Instead, they are just increasingly getting poor. There are other countries that have progressed without surrendering their wealth to Chinese exploitation,” said Ngadziore.
Zimbabwe’s Look East policy has been the subject of much debate with critics pointing out that the policy is tantamount to surrendering the country to Chinese exploitation hence paving the way for the re-colonization of the Southern African country.
Critics say that as a result of the Look East policy, China has benefitted more at the expense of Zimbabwe hence the imperative need to review the policy launched after Zimbabwe severed ties with the Western world.