What ambassador Siwela told Zambians in Washington

Ambassador Sheilla Siwela

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SOCIETY OF ZAMBIANS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, MR MULUSO SHAMAPANDE,

FELLOW ZAMBIANS,

DEAR COLLEAGUES FROM THE EMBASSY AND  YOUR FAMILIES.

IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO MEET WITH YOU THE ZAMBIAN COMMUNITY RESIDING IN THE WASHINGTON D.C. METROPOLITAN AREA. I BRING YOU GREETINGS FROM HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, MR. RUPIAH BWEZANI BANDA, AND FROM THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE.

THIS EVENT WOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE SOMETIME AGO BUT DUE TO MY VERY TIGHT SCHEDULE, WE HAVE HAD TO MEET ON THIS DAY WHICH MARKS THE 9TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TERRORIST ATTACKS THAT WERE CARRIED OUT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. WITH THIS IN MIND, I REQUEST YOU ALL TO BOW YOUR HEADS AND OBSERVE A MINUTE OF SILENCE IN HONOUR OF THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES.

SINCE MY ARRIVAL IN THIS COUNTRY, I HAVE SO FAR MET THE ZAMBIAN COMMUNITIES IN PITTSBURGH, KANSAS CITY, BOSTON AND BALTIMORE. I INTEND TO CONTINUE WITH THIS EXERCISE SO THAT I CAN ALSO MEET ZAMBIANS BASED IN OTHER STATES.

THIS IS IN LINE WITH THE DIRECTIVE FROM HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT, MR. RUPIAH BWEZANI BANDA, WHO WISHES TO SEE THAT ZAMBIANS IN THE DIASPORA ARE WELL REPRESENTED BY THEIR EMBASSY.

IT IS ALSO MY WISH THAT THERE SHOULD BE A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ZAMBIAN COMMUNITY IN THIS COUNTRY AND THE EMBASSY STAFF AT THE MISSION. I WISH TO STRESS THAT IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOULD LIVE AS ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY.

AS YOU KNOW, MOST OF OUR FAMILY IS BACK HOME IN ZAMBIA. IT IS IMPORTANT, THEREFORE, THAT WE SHOULD CONSIDER THE ZAMBIAN WHO IS CLOSEST TO US HERE AS FAMILY. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER WE ARE HERE LEGALLY OR OTHERWISE. I THUS URGE YOUTO FEEL FREE TO VISIT YOUR EMBASSY AT ANY TIME OR TO PICK UP THE PHONE AND TALK TO ANY MEMBER OF STAFF.

LET ME REMIND YOU THAT WHENEVER ONE OF US HAS A PROBLEM, THE MEMBERS OF STAFF WILL DO WHAT IS WITHIN THEIR MEANS TO ASSIST, ALTHOUGH WE CANNOT PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AS AN EMBASSY BECAUSE THERE IS NO BUDGET LINE FOR SUCH.

ALLOW ME TO URGE THOSE THAT HAVE NOT REGISTERED THEIR PRESENCE WITH THE EMBASSY TO DO SO. THE IDEA BEHIND THIS IS FOR US TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE, NOT BECAUSE WE WANT TO FOLLOW YOU UP, BUT BECAUSE IT WOULD BE EASY TO CONTACT

YOU IN CASE WE WISH TO INVITE YOU TO SOCIAL GATHERINGS OR WHENEVER NEED ARISES.

FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAVE OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY WHICH FALLS NEXT MONTH, WE MIGHT NOT HOLD AN OFFICIAL FUNCTION DUE TO BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS. WE MAY, THEREFORE, WISH TO CALL UPON YOU TO PUT OUR HEADS TOGETHER SO THAT WE COULD CELEBRATE THIS OCCASION TOGETHER AT THE EMBASSY.

AS YOU ARE AWARE, ZAMBIA INTRODUCED NEW PASSPORTS. IN THIS REGARD, I WISH TO REMIND ALL OF YOU TO RENEW YOUR PASSPORTS. THE EMBASSY IS THERE TO FACILITATE THIS EXERCISE. IT IS GOOD PRACTICE TO HAVE YOUR PASSPORT IN GOOD ORDER BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOUWOULD WISH TO TRAVEL OUT OF THE COUNTRY.

ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT, I WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE IN ZAMBIA HAS CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. MOST OF YOU, LEFT ZAMBIA A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO AND YOU WILL THEREFORE BE AMAZED AT THE DEVELOPMENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN OUR COUNTRY. SUCCESSIVE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENTS HAVE CREATED A CONDUCIVE ECONOMIC CLIMATE WHERE ONE IS FREE TO DO BUSINESS. I, THEREFORE CALL UPON YOU TO TAKE UP THIS OPPORTUNITY TO INVEST BACK HOME.

REMEMBER THAT COUNTRIES SUCH AS ETHIOPIA OR THOSE IN WEST AFRICA, HAVE GROWN TREMENDOUSLY AS A RESULT OF THE INCOME EARNED FROM THEIR NATIONALS IN THE DIASPORA. REMEMBER, THEREFORE, THAT NO MATTER HOW LONG YOU LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY, ZAMBIA WILL ALWAYS REMAIN A COUNTRY WHICH YOU CAN CALL HOME BECAUSE YOUR ROOTS ARE THERE. MOST OF US PRESENT WERE EDUCATED IN ZAMBIA. IT WOULD THUS BE IDEAL TO ‘GIVE BACK TO ZAMBIA’.

WITH REGARD TO ATTRACTING INVESTMENT AND PROMOTING TOURISM, I CONSIDER YOU ALL AS ACTIVE PLAYERS. IT IS YOUR DUTY TO PROMOTE YOUR COUNTRY. WE SHOULD NOT BE TALKING NEGATIVELY ABOUT ZAMBIA. WE SHOULD EMULATE OUR HOSTS WHO ARE VERY PATRIOTIC WHEN THEY ARE OUTSIDE THEIR COUNTRY. TO THEM AMERICA COMES FIRST REGARDLESS OF THEIR DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS.

REMEMBER THAT IN THE MORE THAN FORTY FIVE YEARS OF ITS INDEPENDENCE, ZAMBIA HAS ENJOYED PEACE DESPITE THE UPHEAVALS EXPERIENCED IN SOME NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES. THIS IS NOT A SMALL ACHIEVEMENT. I, THEREFORE, URGE YOU ALL THAT AT ANY GIVEN OPPORTUNITY, YOU SHOULD SEIZE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY THE TOURISM MARVELS IN THE ZAMBIA – NOT ONLY THE VICTORIA FALLS IN LIVINGSTONE, BUT ALSO OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS SUCH AS THOSE IN THE NORTHERN CIRCUIT, THE KAFUE NATIONAL PARK, THE LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK ETC.

WITH THESE REMARKS, I THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH YOU AND HOPE THAT WE HAVE LAID A FOUNDATION FOR STRONGER RELATIONS BETWEEN US.

Sheila Siwela, Zambian Ambassador to the USA

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