- Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has pledged to rid the country of Chinese investment if he wins the nation’s upcoming July elections.
- Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa accused China of “asset-stripping” the country’s resources.
- China and Zimbabwe have maintained strong economic ties during former President Robert Mugabe’s rule, and China has become the nation’s largest source of investment.
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has pledged to rid the country of investment from China if he wins the nation’s upcoming July elections.
Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told crowds at a rally in the capital city of Harare on Monday that China was “asset-stripping” the country’s resources.
“I have seen the deals that Ngwena [President Emmerson Mnangagwa] has entered into with China and others, they are busy asset-stripping the resources of the country,” he said.
Chamisa promised to change the country’s current relationship with China pending a victory.
“I have said, beginning September when I assume office, I will call the Chinese and tell them the deals they signed are unacceptable and they should return to their country.”
This year’s elections will be the first since the relatively-peaceful coup and subsequent resignation of former president Robert Mugabe last year. Mugabe was effectively ousted as president after serving for more than 30 years, with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa stepping in to take his place.
Chamisa took lead over the opposition party following the February death of their former leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and will challenge Mnangagwa in July.
China and Zimbabwe have maintained strong economic ties under Mugabe’s rule.
Since 2003, Zimbabwe’s “Look East” policy has focused on expanding bilateral trade with Asia, and it has become increasingly focused on China over time.
China is Zimbabwe’s largest source of investment, investing billions into the country’s economy over the last decade.
China has also heavily invested in projects including extensions to airports, construction of a new parliament building, and repairing water supplies between Harare and surrounding town, according to The Herald.
But China has faced growing criticism for its foreign investments projects.
China has spent billions in Africa as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, and often seeks collateral in the form of natural resources.