Revelations of the loan facility, come on the backcloth of reports by experts that, the country might run out of cash by August, leading to a possible economic meltdown with severe consequencies, which have alarmed the new South African leadership of President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa. Mugabe’s increasingly troubled administration, is facing challenges in paying the wages of policemen, army officers and other civil servants, igniting fears of rebellion from within the State.
The situation has been exacerbated by massive capital flight, and the closure of over 60 companies in Harare alone, alongside the failing of local banks. Harare’s woes, have further been dealt a blow, by the inavailability of loans from both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
As first reported in The Telescope News, China has become the first foreign power, to take a strong interest and involvement in Mugabe’s succession politics, by backing Mnangagwa from the closet ahead of Vice President, Joice Mujuru, who is favoured by Zanu-PF moderates to replace Mugabe. Mujuru has long been viewed by some Western nations, as business friendly and a reform minded politician.
Beijing has a cross-section of economic interests in the country ranging from mining, agriculture and telecommunications. Government officials say, China has renewed a special interest in Zimbabwe’s supply of platinum, to it’s burgeoning automobile industry, where the Asian giant is focussed on using the mineral to produce effective and efficient vehicle emissions control devices, to deal with pollution issues. China has the largest automotive indusrty in the world measured by automobile unit production since 2008. Annual production of automobiles in China exceeds that of the European Union or that of the United States and Japan combined.
“Mnangagwa started negotiating for a special and seperate loan from China on behalf of Zanu-PF, as far back as 2009, when former prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai claimed that he had managed to secure US$950 million in credit facilities from the Chinese, which turned out to be untrue,” said the diplomat said.
“Actually, the justice minister travelled to China, with a team of Zanu-PF officials, to negotiate the financial package, and Beijing seem to have weighed the advantages and disadvantages of providing the loan during the days of the coalition government. Releasing the money then, could have strengthened the opposition in government, and releasing it now will strengthen Mugabe and Mujuru’s hand, so the powers that be seem, to have made as assessment of putting their money on Mnangagwa if he comes to power, and by so doing they can secure their interests and investments in Zimbabwe in the short to medium term.”
The Zimbabwe snub last week by Chinese Vice President, Li Yuanchao, who spent a reported 30mins at the Harare International Airport en route to Zambia, were he signed development loan and grant agreements worth $64 million, is also telling about Beijing’s political mood with Mugabe.
Although Mujuru, was quickly whisked to the airport, for a speed meeting during the Wednesday stopover by Li Yuanchao, elated faction members from Mnangagwa’s camp saw it as a victory for their leader, who the Chinese by their current political behaviour, appear to be taking Mnangagwa seriously, and looking ahead into a post-Mugabe era in their relations with Zimbabwe.