The land was pledged as security in the recent Harare City Council US$868m water and wastewater deals with some Chinese companies increasing fears of a gradual takeover by the quickly increasing Asian nationals.
Council recently signed a deal which will see the rehabilitation of its water system following a period of acute water challenges partly due to a derelict system which has seen Harare losing about 65 percent of treated water.
The US$860 million deals include, among others, Sinohydro US$237 425 804.68, China Gozhouba Group Company (CGGC) US$351 072 913, China Geo-Engineering Cooperation (CGEC) US$176 790 000, China Machinery and Engineering Corporation (CMEC) US$280 000 000.
The government agreed to guarantee the deals though the information has come out that part of the deal involves the use of land as security.
“We have noted that in the case of of the recent US$868 million loans, the land will be used as security and we sincerely hope that this is not another way of selling Harare”, said CHRA.
The placement of land as security in the deal involving the Chinese has raised fears as the Chinese have been known to take over various pledged state properties in the case that loans are not honoured.
Previously they have been reports of Zambia handing over the country’s national electricity company, ZESCO to the Chinese due to the inability of Zambia to meet its loan repayment promises.
Statistics have shown that a substantial number of African states have taken Chinese loans since totalling a whopping $124 billion by 2016.
Recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United States advised African leaders of the imperial intentions of China which are at the core of the Belt and Road Initiative developed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.
CHRA said it would thus monitor closely there use of the money so as to stop corrupt tendencies which could leave the country at the mercy of the Chinese.
” As CHRA we will push for the establishment of a citizen monitoring taskforce before any disbursement of the loans”.
“Any abuse of water funds as witnessed in the past is a serious threat to water security”, it said.
Weak institutions have allowed corruption to grow and become institutionalised in the country and despite President Mnangagwa’s stated anti-corruption drive little has effectively happened on the ground to signify concrete progress.