Our all weather friends are not amused Zimbabwe and China have been buddies for a long time but relations might start getting frosty because our leaders are extremely economical with the truth. Our government is quick to blame sanctions for the deteriorating economic situation but the truth is our problem has more to do with lack of good governance, corruption and wrong priorities. This week, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube drew the ire of the Chinese embassy in Harare when he, according to the latter, misrepresented facts about their financial aid from January to September 2019. Presenting the 2020 national budget statement last Friday, Ncube said bilateral support provided by China to Zimbabwe is about US$3.6 million. However, in a press release, a clearly annoyed Chinese Embassy said the information was not just false but massively so. The Chinese insist they have given the Zim govt US$136.8 million. “The embassy wishes that the relevant departments of the Zimbabwe government will make comprehensive assessments on the statistics of bilateral supports and accurately reflect its actual situation when formulating budget statement,” reads the statement. This is not the first time that our government has irked our all weather friends as far as money is concerned. In early November, there were media reports that the Chinese government had withdrawn funding of some infrastructure developments projects after our government diverted almost US$10million from the fund. This doesn’t come as a surprise as millions of dollars have a way of ‘developing legs’ in Zimbabwe. Those in power have the powers to abuse funds with no shame whatsoever. Thus it is no shocker that part of the money advanced by the Chinese government could have financed the lavish lifestyles of our leaders hence it cannot be accounted for. I guess if China, which has stood with Zimbabwe through ‘thick and thin’ and in the process being labelled our all weather friends, decides to indefinitely withdraw funding or assisting our government in whatever way because of these looting tendencies, our leaders will still blame it on sanctions. They will never have the guts to admit any wrong doing despite glaring evidence of abuse of funds. In other news, new notes were introduced last week and according to the government, cash queues were going to be a thing of the past. But a week later, nothing has changed as people are still struggling to access cash. I had hoped that government’s promise would become a reality and somehow put a smile on our faces but well, it’s the same old story of money finding its way into the black market and never into the banks.