I am not only alarmed but also disappointed to see the depth and manner with which the “Look-East Policy” has pervaded so many aspects of Zimbabwean society. I am told the “Look-East Policy” is a lucrative alternative to the West, it is supposed to be about fighting neo-colonialism and resisting Western Hegemony over our sovereign affairs and welfare as a society.
Yes, I can understand the need to unshackle ourselves from white imperialistic tendencies. Indeed the British reign in Zimbabwe was a terrible tyrannical reign-no wonder they are adamantly refusing to release all public documents relating to their conduct in their colony of Southern Rhodesia , which is now our own Zimbabwe.
What I can not understand however is the direction my government is taking us when it makes a deliberate effort to remove us from one form of colonialism and chains us to another form of bondage. We have been exposed to a cunning, ruthless and amoral slave master-the Chinese. I sound quite xenophobic, don’t I? I do not mean to. The point I am driving home which is also the reality on the ground is that the conduct of most of the Chinese in Zimbabwe is unacceptable.
Just as I do not need expert evidence to show me that colonialism and neo-colonialism have been exploitative of African populations, I also do not need experts from Europe or China or anywhere else to tell me what I see with my own eyes. All I see is that what the West did in Berlin in 1884-5 when they partitioned Africa and their conduct in most of their African colonies since then is exactly the same thing the Chinese are after, going after Africa’s natural resources, to feed the Chinese industry and huge population, to largely exploit the continent, and in some cases develop infrastructure and industries which benefit the Chinese themselves more than the locals.
Each day I hear stories of Zimbabwean workers abused in Chinese factories and mines. I have received cases of summary dismissal without notice and without any compensation of Zimbabwean workers from Chinese firms. Reports of Zimbabwean female employees getting pregnant by their Chinese bosses and giving birth to Chinese babies after being coerced to have unprotected sex have also filtered through.
Many workers in Chinese owned companies complain of long working hours, very little pay, unsanitary working conditions in clear violation of Zimbabwe’s labour laws and with clear disregard for the rights of these workers.
One man even mentioned in a gathering in which I was present that his nephew spent two days denied compassionate leave to go and bury his dead mother because the Chinese man in charge could not understand his request. Only when another one of his colleagues with a little extra knowledge of English arrived was he allowed to go. He could not up and go because his livelihood depended on that job.
All that being said and done; this made me very angry
This to me is a crime we are committing against ourselves. It is a betrayal of the liberation war gains. It appears like a move towards us becoming stooges of the East. If we are shunning the English language as an imperialistic tongue, why then are we embracing Chinese. Why did we not put these signs in Shona, Ndebele and all the other dialects that are spoken by Zimbabweans?
Who reads Chinese anyway besides the Chinese themselves in Zimbabwe?
Now of this I am sure- if Lobengula’s alleged actions of selling over rights of land ownership to John Moffat did not cause Nehanda to spin 360 degrees in her grave, I am sure this Chinasation of Zimbabwe will!