Slave Debt : Look East policy a burden for citizens

The government has embarked on a Look East policy where it has made re-engagements efforts with China.

This seems lucrative as Eastern investors flock into the country in all sectors.

However, it seems the ordinary citizens are shouldering the burden and paying off the ‘debt’  that investors are bringing.

In the same manner in which other continents view Africa as a backward and primitive place, the same applies with most Chinese investors who have been indoctrinated by the notion that we are indeed a dark continent with backward people that are too eager to provide cheap and almost free labour.

If most Chinese investors in the country could have it their way, they would gladly offer food in exchange for the menial labour provided to them by the workers they almost always employ on a daily basis with no contracts drafted thereof.

This scenario which has been ripped from a historical book dating back to the colonial era in which peasants would wake up early in the morning ‘kunoforera basa’ in a bid to secure a job and get paid at the end of the day is replaying itself in modern day Zimbabwe.

Most of these Chinese nationals have invested in the mining industry and they are also venturing in manufacturing building material amongst others and it is in these companies which are mostly located in outskirts where gruesome violations of human and workers’ rights are the order of the day.

An investigation conducted by this publication has revealed that most workers who are offered employment on a daily basis get paid about $17 RTGS dollars a day after working for 10 hours a day. Sunny Yi Feng Tiles Zimbabwe located in Norton has been picked out as a hub for inhumane treatment of workers.

A source who has worked closely with the company has narrated the working conditions at the factory.

“Chinese by nature look down on Africans. Being a Chinese speaker myself I heard a lot of insults being hurled at fellow Zimbabweans in Chinese on a daily basis but obviously the one targeted by the insult would not understand anything being said,” said the source.

“Considering that I was one of the few Zimbabweans who could hear what was being said I felt like we were all being attacked as they would continuously say Zimbabweans are stupid, useless and a lot of other derogatory insults.

“These people are curious if I can put it that way especially of how we look, African women in particular. It is a common thing for a Chinese man to touch a woman’s behind as they say they want to make sure that it is all flesh inside the clothes and not some artificial flesh. I had to tell them with a straight face that i did not like it,” she went on to say.

The Chinese investors who have seen Africa as the pot of gold   are here to stay here and in a bid to secure this, they encourage almost all of their workers to marry them so they can get citizenship.

In most cities that have been ‘evaded’ by Chinese companies, coloured children that are half Zimbabwean and half Chinese are a common sight.

Most of these children are being raised by single and struggling women who were impregnated and left to fend for these children on their own with no way of tracing the fathers as they use different names in China than the ones they use here.

Member of Parliament for Norton, Temba Mliswa also conducted an investigation and he discovered that there was gruesome violation of rights by these ‘investors’.

When people from other parts of the world go to China they undergo serious health tests which would determine if they will be allowed to stay there.

Even Chinese citizens who have serious health problems even sexually transmitted ones no longer enjoy other benefits hence they escape to other parts of the world. These individuals have become a hub of untreatable sexually transmitted diseases as they will in turn engage in unprotected sexual activities with locals spreading virus’ that are difficult for our health  practitioners to detect them and even treat them putting the whole nation at risk from this next wave of STI.

The country has failed to put policies in place to have all foreigners undergoing health checks to safeguard the health of the nation at large.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has also not been spared as they are robbed of tax by these companies as most of them pay their employees via Ecocash a process that makes it easy for them to evade remitting their taxes.

Being foreigners in the country, they have foreign currency which they are changing on the black market, fuelling the ever increasing rates and paying their workers the inflated Ecocash salaries.

A lot has been left to be desired as it is the general populace that is carrying this heavy burden all in the name of serving the bigger purpose of having strong relations with the East.

Chinese nationals must not be allowed to have businesses in reserved areas like retail.