China has deep-rooted relations with recently-ousted Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe. So when Mugabe was finally dethroned after massive protests throughout the country, it was apparent that China had expressed its wish to implement the new change. That is how new reports are looking at the Zimbabwean coup.
China’s relationship with Mugabe was deteriorating over the years and Mugabe’s counterpart, Emmer Mnangagwa, was emerging to be more investment-friendly than the 93-year-old leader. However, China has denied all the allegations of its meddling in the Zimbwabe development. “Beijing has bankrolled Mugabe and his wife for years and will cozy up to Mwangagwa now,” CNBC quoted Pinak Chakravarty as saying.
Zimbabwe’s lucrative tobacco, diamond and power industries has long been within the eyesight of Beijing. Mugabe’s government was provided interest-free loans by China as a means to foster closer political, military and personal ties. However, when Mugabe came up with the indigenous law which curtailed the movement of Chinese commercial projects, or any other foreign projects without the majority black Zimbabwean ownership, Beijing viewed this development as a problem.
“As Zimbabwe’s largest source of foreign investment, Chinese investors are inevitably impacted … dissatisfaction is rampant among many in China, who question the solidity and future of the special friendship between the two countries,” a 2016 report said.
In that regard, new president Mnangagwa is seen as more business-friendly by China. The 75-year-old leader, nicknamed “The Crocodile”, has received his training from China and is expected to get rid of laws which were enacted by Mugabe.
“Following Mugabe’s resignation, China’s foreign ministry went out of its way to praise the friendship between China and Zimbabwe, and Mnangagwa can be expected to continue that relationship,” CNBC quoted Hannah Ryder as saying.
There is a strong whiff of Beijing’s political influence being used in Zimbabwe. While the rest of the world looks at Mugabe as a corrupted leader with dictatorial ambitions, there are reports stating how Beijing played it all out from the beginning.