This is what the world is reading about the PF’ claims of xenophobia in Zambia.
The viva China colonialism demonstrations by PF have backfired big time as the use of the word ‘Xenophobia’ has made the world believe that all Zambians hate Chinese.
See below an article published in the Southern Times, a newspaper distributed in all SADC countries :
By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka – Zambia is on the verge of losing the tag of being one of Africa’s most peaceful nations due to a recent spate of violent xenophobic attacks on Chinese nationals residing in the country.
South Africa is the only other Southern African Development Community (SADC) member state known for its violence against foreign nationals, unlike Zambia, attacks in South Africa only target other Africans residing in that country.
Though seemingly a new phenomenon, the violence has been spreading in alarming proportions. Zambia has embraced and welcomed various nationalities since independence from Britain under Kenneth Kaunda’s unifying motto “One Zambia One Nation.”
Earlier this month, riots erupted in Zambia’s second largest city, Kitwe, where people reacted to claims that the government was in the process of selling the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited, a strategic government-owned business responsible for timber and wood resources, to a Chinese buyer. The state-owned entity manages pine and eucalyptus plantations and harvests and commercially processes timber to supply to the local and foreign markets.
Lusaka Times has reported that over 100 Kitwe residents were arrested for participating in riots denounce growing Chinese presence in the country.
The riots disrupted business in the city, while several Chinese owned shops were looted by residents accusing President Edgar Lungu’s government of favouring the Chinese. China carries a significant chunk of Zambia’s US$15 billion debt, about 28%.
Zambians claim that the xenophobic attacks come as a result of a growing feeling that Chinese nationals living in the country have no respect for Zambian laws, accuse them of criminal activities and human rights violations against Zambians. In some cases, law enforcement agencies are accused of allowing Chinese nationals, who break the law, to do so with impunity.
Marriages of convenience between Chinese nationals seeking residence documents and desperate Zambians, especially women, hoping the marriage would be a ticket out of poverty was also on the agenda as the nation discussed the Chinese question. Those defending the Chinese claim that pro-Western forces were championing the anti-China sentiment in Zambia. This was allegedly sparked by the China-Africa summit, which saw the Asian powerhouse making billions of dollars available to fund development projects in Africa.
Blaming the opposition
Speaking in Parliament during the Vice President’s Question Time, Inonge Wina said the government was concerned about some reckless statements being made by some opposition political leaders that could endanger the lives of Chinese nationals.
The government is blaming popular opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema for the increased anti-Chinese sentiment in the southern African nation.
Media reports say the leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), has been ordered to appear before police this week for allegedly instigating riots in Kitwe.
Popularly known as HH, Hakainde has refuted the accusations, while blaming Lungu’s government of intimidation tactics. Hichilema was quoted by the African News Agency asserting that he is a convenient scapegoat for all of Zambia’s problems.
“They are blaming the collapsing economy on HH, if the kwacha falls it’s HH, the death of Vespers is HH, the riots in Kitwe is HH; everything is HH, even when the rains are delayed, the blame will be on HH,” he was quoted as saying by the agency.