— China takes control of State -owned airport, Electricity Company, National Media and major roadway
“What China has done is that they have studied countries that have corrupt governments and greedy leaders….China’s operations in Africa are a fact that many of the deals are done in secret. In many cases, we don’t know what we signed on to.”
An international airport, a State-owned Electricity Company, a National Broadcasting Network and a major roadway in Zambia, have all been taken over by China.
In fact, the takeover of the South African country has reached such “commanding heights” that some observers are asking the question, “Is Zambia the first African country to become a full Chinese colony?”
Zambia’s reported ‘colonization’ is due to its government’s failure to repay a US$8B debt to China for infrastructural projects undertaken by the Chinese under programmes like the ”Belt and Road” initiative.
Given the appalling proportions of the debt, it was no surprise that Zambia’s plight was recently highlighted on “The Dr. Mumbi show” —a widely viewed online/TV programme in Africa.
During her show, Dr. Mumbi Seraki noted that China has been given unrestrained control over Zambian resources owing to over-borrowing and the unfiltered immigration of Chinese into the country. It was also highlighted that the Chinese have taken over African neighbourhoods, marketplaces, and major business sectors such as mining and real estate.
Dr. Mumbi noted that the situation is causing conflict between the Chinese immigrants and the locals. But there is nothing that could be done by the Government of Zambia. Their hands are tied.
“If the Zambians complain about something which is done illegally, the Chinese government steps in and says don’t touch my people and the Zambian Government backs down.”
As if that is not enough, Dr. Mumbi said that China has also been grabbing up major State assets.
A few months ago, the state-owned TV and radio news channel, ZNBC, and the Lusaka International Airport were taken over by the Chinese. Even the State’s electricity company, ZESCO, is poised for takeover by the Chinese government owning their loan default, Mumbi stressed. But the government has been denying the reports.
“They (the Government) have been trying to play cool like everything is ok but they have actually been in secret talks over how their national electricity company will be taken over by China,” the African talk-show host revealed.
In addition to all this, the Chinese have closed off a road on the central point of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
Given the aforementioned, the Kenyan commentator questioned the logic behind China’s dealings in Zambia’s state- of -affairs.
“Do you think an African company would be allowed control over China’s national electricity? But you know what? It just shows that China’s new colonial strategy is at its climax. And they (China) have been doing this covert business for so long and now they got their tentacles so deep inside (Africa) that it’s going to be hard for some countries turn back,” she said.
The talk-show host also emphasized that China’s whole strategy is encouraging indebtedness.
“They come to Africa with the money. They give and they give (loans) but once you default, they start to take over strategic assets. You see, what China has done is that they have studied countries that have corrupt governments and greedy leaders. That’s the trouble with most African nations. That’s why we find most African nations in this situation.”
She stressed further, that China’s long-term goal is the effective ownership of the commanding heights of Africa’s economy.
Dr. Mumbi also explained that one of the biggest problems with China’s operations in Africa is the fact that many of the deals are done in secret.
“In many cases, we don’t know what we signed on to. We don’t know the kind of agreements they made because all of them were done hush-hush and behind- the -scenes. All we’ve been told is that China is giving Africa money or they’re funding this or that infrastructure project.
“But we are not told that the debt repayment is set at this percentage and if you fail to pay this percentage, we are going to be in trouble.”
Turning her focus back to Zambia, Dr. Mumbi highlighted yet another problem with the loans—the lack of capacity by the country’s Ministry of Finance to track government spending.
She noted that since President Edgar Lungu came to power, Zambia signed off on to at least US$8B in Chinese projects. But over US$5B is still to be added to the US$8B total. Zambia is refusing to acknowledge this, saying that the money has not been disbursed as yet.
China, however, said that the money has already been given and more large loans are in the pipeline. According to Dr. Mumbi, there is great worry over the money collected since the Zambian Finance Ministry does not have the capacity, to police, let alone trace all the spending.
“And because these deals are done in secret, the financial penalty of backing out of these projects are worse than if you actually go through with it to the end,” the host added
In spite of the capacity issues, the talk-show host revealed that Zambia’s President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, recently visited China and signed another US$30 million loan for the modernization of his country’s Mulungushi International Conference Centre and another US$30 million for the expansion of the electricity supply for the Lusaka East Multi-Facility Economic Zone. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e4NkIL7-6M)
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