Mugabe's laugh comes last

By Abduel Elinaza
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 1, 2014
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President Xi Jinping and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attend a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on August 25. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi / China Daily] 

President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe concluded a five-day tour of duty in China, signing nine agreements that are expected to help revive the country's battered economy.

The tour, between Aug. 24 and 28, came merely 20 days after the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where Mugabe was not invited by President Barack Obama.

This is 13th time that President Mugabe has visited China, despite growing criticism in both Harare and Washington that he is a human rights and good governance abuser in his position as current chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mugabe's look east centers on the fact that China genuinely wants to enhance political and economic conditions in Zimbabwe. The sanctions imposed by the West are harming normal citizens more than the elite. This is a key reason why President Xi Jinping invited Mugabe, despite previous controversies.

Some critics, nevertheless, argue that by not attending the U.S.-Africa summit, Mugabe missed a global opportunity to showcase the benefits that Zimbabwe has to offer to international investors.

Critics say Harare requires international investment to create jobs and to help broaden the revenue base enough to finance social sector projects -- education, hospitals and the like.

Yes, but what if the investments and assistance come with restrictions? For instance, accepting gay rights even if it is a taboo for most Africans? Uganda, Malawi tried to attract such investment, and relaxed their laws after the West threatened to hold aid.

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