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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe appealed for China’s financial support Wednesday as he vowed an economic revolution to transform the lives of his people – the majority still struggling 34 years after independence.

The veteran leader was speaking during a meeting with a visiting delegation from the Communist Party of China at his Zanu PF’s Harare headquarters.

Eleven months after he was returned to power after a landslide victory in last July’s elections Mugabe is under pressure as the economy, in the words of opposition legislator, Eddie Cross, refuses to vote for the 90-year-old and his Zanu PF party.

The Zanu PF leader rejects criticism that the country’s problems are largely down to the incompetence of his administration, blaming instead sanctions imposed by the West to punish his land reforms.

On Wednesday he met the Chinese delegation as his Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa and a member of Zanu PF’s politburo were in Beijing, pleading for billions of dollars to help stem the country’s economic slide.

Mugabe said he hoped China would support him as it did during the liberation struggle.

“Our relations with China are historical relations, they are revolutionary relations. We related to China for a long, long time during our struggle before our independence,” he said.

“We will be talking about how we can, together, once again, help each other now in our socio-economic programmes — another revolution to develop our countries so the fruits of what we fought for together can be yielded by yet another struggle, joint struggle.

“… but this time a peace and economic struggle that we shall be waging with our natural resources so we can produce the necessary wealth for our people.”

Mugabe won last July’s elections with a promise to, among other things, deliver more than two million jobs in a country where unemployment is independently estimated at over 80 percent.

But a liquidity squeeze that has afflicted the economy for years continues and companies are either closing shop or downsizing, adding thousands more to the ranks of the jobless.

The government’s unfunded economic blue-print has, to date, failed to stem the slide, providing fodder for opposition cannons with the MDC formations telling Mugabe to admit failure and call a national dialogue to chat the way forward.

But Zanu PF remains upbeat, pinning its hopes on ongoing negotiations with Beijing for a $10 billion emergency lifeline.

The Chinese are open to a deal on condition Mugabe can provide collateral, preferably in the form of the country’s mineral riches.

Welcome to Harare … Guo Jin Long is introduced to Zanu PF chair Simon Khaya Moyo

Mugabe will travel to China next month when an agreement will likely be sealed.

“I look forward to them (Chinese) to play host to me next month when I visit China,” he said Wednesday.

Chinamasa however, ruled out using the country’s reputed mineral wealth as security following criticism of the arrangement by various groups, including the local World Bank office.

“A lot of interest has been expressed by potential financiers, including those from the West and the USA,” the minister told students at the National Defence College in Harare earlier this month.

“With respect to leveraging our mineral resources, some of them are making propositions which I have said ‘no’ to. They want sovereign guarantees that basically give them a whole mountain or the whole Great Dyke and I have said ‘no’.

“I cannot make any guarantees that mortgage a whole mountain range of minerals, which I do not know what reserves it has under it.”

Source : New Zimbabwe