It has been a happy Christmas for China which has acquired one of Zimbabwe’s main assets – a lithium mine – as it continues its worldwide search for precious metals.
Lithium is a key element in the production of rechargeable batteries to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. The Chinese company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt is apparently paying US$422 million for the Arcadia Mine. For the ordinary people of Zimbabwe there will be little benefit from the deal, except the prospect of providing slave labour for unpopular Chinese employers
It has, by all accounts, been a gloomy Christmas for Zimbabweans with sharply rising prices and a weakening currency. Spokesperson for the National Consumer Rights Association Effie Ncube said this had dampened the festive mood
People found it impossible to get cash from banks and bureaux de change. Many queued for days. NewZimbabwe quoted a man as saying men and women with babies had been sleeping in queues without any ablution facilities. ‘They have turned the parkade into their toilet and the car park is filled with a stench of human excreta.’ He added: ‘We see some weird smart dressed people who walk in and leave with money with no hustle at all, yet we are dirty and tattered by spending days in queues.’
In another development, the former Zanu PF MP for Mutasa South Irene Zindi spoke of corruption in the party’s provincial elections. Newsday said the allegation was confirmed by Politburo member Engelbert Rugeje who was quoted as saying: ‘The issue of rigging and intimidation is not only in Manicaland but it is serious in other areas’.