Spotlight Zimbabwe has reported that China is preparing to station elite special forces in Zimbabwe, as Beijing increases military cooperation with Harare, amid concerns that the Asian powerhouse is set to construct a secret underground military base in the country.
The new report comes one year after Spotlight Zimbabwe revealed that China installed next-generation surface-to-air missiles (SAM) in the country, the same ones that are deployed to the South China Sea on Woody Island.
China’s new military base is set to protect its large diamond claims and gold mines across the country, where some of its SAM launchers are already located.
According to a former minister of ex-leader President Robert Mugabe’s administration, China has been planning on sending their special forces to the country since 2014 “to offer technical assistance and support” to the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). However, Mugabe called off the plan several years ago, after accusing the Chinese of corruption, and the plunder of natural resources in Marange.
“They (China) have been itching to set a permanent military presence in this country, to protect their vast economic interests here but Mugabe was resisting the overtures,” said the former cabinet minister. “Although the cover argument was around offering technical assistance and support to our armed forces, it later became clear that Mnangagwa had his own agreement and arrangements with China. This infuriated Mugabe, and it was also during the same period Mnangagwa had first traveled to China as vice president, holding high-level meetings which his boss had not fully been briefed on. The incident increased Mugabe’s political mistrust for Mnangagwa, whom he suspected was presenting himself to President Xi Jinping, as the best political actor to secure China’s investments in Zimbabwe after he steps down. The rest is history. Mnangagwa has since invited China back to mine diamonds in Marange, and their special force has received the greenlight from vice president Rtd General, Constatino Chiwenga, to find a station in the country. Now there is every reason to believe that Mugabe’s November 2017 ouster, could have been a result of China viewing his stay in power as a threat to their economic investments, especially after having stripped them of diamond mining rights.”
Zimbabwe has seen billions of dollars of Chinese investments over the last few years,