2008: Concurrent with China's latest shipments of arms and munitions to
two dozen uniformed and armed Chinese soldiers were seen patrolling the streets
of the eastern border town of Mutare, with Zimbabwean troops, during a strike
by Mugabe's political opposition. The Chinese Embassy denied that there were
any Chinese troops in the area, but suggested that local Chinese-owned
companies hired contractors to protect their interests. Over the last few
years, thousands of Chinese have moved to Zimbabwe, where they have become
active in retailing, manufacturing, mining and farming. They have a lot to
protect and apparently have formed a militia.
running scared of open revolt, with the results of the March 29 joint
parliamentary and presidential elections still unclear. The state-run Herald
newspaper even suggested the best solution was to form a government of national
unity, but Mugabe's political opposition went ahead with a planned nationwide
strike to protest the increasing violence and force the release of the election
results. Local church leaders issued warnings of impending ``genocide''
unlessÂ international intervention
arrests the deteriorating political and security situation.
has a substantial investment in Zimbabe, including a $1.3 billion contract to
open coal mines and three thermal power stations in the Zambezi valley (as well
as unpaid debts dating back to the Congo Civil War that started in 1998).
not the first time Mugabe has looked east for security assistance. In 1981, he
imported 106 North Korean police instructors, who trained a brigade of troops
on how to most effectively terrorize Matabeleland. There, the Ndebele minority
(18 percent of the population) were hostile to Mugabe, who was a Shona. The
Shona andÂ NdebeleÂ had not gotten along, even as they fought for
Zimbabwean independence. So Mugabe sent his North Korean trained 5th Brigade to
Matabeleland, where thousands of Ndebele died, and everyone else was terrified
into submission. The North Koreans took their money and went home.
fails to maintain influence over the election results, their political and
economic foothold is in danger of evaporating. - Adam Geibel