ZITUKULE Consortium says the PF’s branding of CSOs and opposition parties as “seeds of xenophobia” against Chinese should be dismissed as hallucinations of a political formation suffocating under its own incompetence, corruption and lack of direction.
Executive director Nicholas Phiri stated in a statement yesterday that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and opposition parties were merely asking standard and legitimate questions concerning the Zambia-Chinese relationship with regard to debt contraction and government contracts which currently lacked transparency.
“As Zitukule Consortium, we call upon the local and international human rights bodies not to pay attention to allegations raised by the Patriotic Front (PF) through its media director Mr Sunday Chanda concerning the alleged ‘seeds of xenophobia’ against Chinese people by Civil Society organisations and opposition political parties. The call by the PF should be ignored and dismissed as hallucinations of a political formation suffocating under its own incompetence, corruption and lack of direction,” Phiri stated.
“Zambia is a rainbow nation. CSOs in Zambia will not treat anyone on the basis of race. We respect the universalism of human rights and all obligations, which come with international human rights standards. There is nothing special about the Chinese that would make them to be singled out for xenophobic attacks. It is laughable that the PF regime today could call upon local and international human rights bodies to take interest in non-existent xenophobic threats when the same PF regime wanted to pull out of the Rome Statues for no convincing reason other than the fear of being held accountable for the growing violation of citizen’s human rights then.”
Phiri stated that the PF regime’s behaviour was hypocritical and deceitful.
“When citizens try to rightly bring human rights violation by the regime to relevant international bodies to which Zambia is accountable, the regime responds by saying that Zambia is a sovereign country capable of handling its own affairs. So what has changed now? The truth of the matter is that the PF has been caught out and is trying hard to sensationalise the situation to divert citizens’ attention from asking questions regarding the questionable deals between the PF government and China,” stated Phiri. “We have not forgotten how our Mukula found its way to the Chinese market under the cover of State operatives at a time when it was illegal to export Mukula logs out of the country. Why do Chinese companies seem to have preferential treatment when it comes to the award of public contracts? These are some of the questions we would like the PF regime to provide answers to. Xenophobia is a human rights violation and the State, as a primary duty bearer in the protection of and respect for human rights under the supervision of PF, should take action against those threatening the life of Chinese in Zambia. Why appeal for international support to act when the State has capacity to do so?