MAJOR Richard Kachingwe has demanded an apology from President Edgar Lungu over his recent remarks that out of 10 thieves, six are Bemba.
And Maj Kachingwe has requested the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia to take note of the insulting and derogatory statement President Lungu made in likening the Chinese to cockroaches.
During an Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ)-organised gala dinner in Lusaka last Wednesday, President Lungu said out of 10 thieves, six were Bemba.
At the same event, President Lungu quoted “someone” who told him that Chinese were like cockroaches because they survived everywhere.
“I wish to note that development also calls for the support of non-Zambians residing and conducting business in the country…. This cry about Chinese won’t help us! Chinese population is about 1.3 billion. The other day I was doing statistics and I came across one damning fact that out of 10 thieves, six will be Bemba. And I said ‘why’ but they said you have forgotten? There are so many Bembas. So, invariably, you’ll find that when you collect 10, six will be wrong ones,” President Lungu claimed.
“So, if the Chinese population is 1.8 billion, and then the world population is…you will find Chinese all over and when you say ‘eliminate Chinese from Zambia’, you are wasting your time. Similarly, when you say ‘eliminate Bemba from Zambia’, you are wasting your time. So, if you say ‘they are thieves’, yes you are bound to find a thief because they are many.”
On Chinese in Zambia, the President wondered how one would think of chasing them from the country when “in Europe they are there, in America they are there, in Australia they are there.”
“Someone told me they are like cockroaches…. So, let’s take a realistic approach to this and defend non-Zambians who are residing with us. Allow them to conduct business so that we work together and prosper our country. Let’s not be xenophobic, it will not help us.”
President added that the Chinese, typical of cockroaches, were resilient and able to survive in extreme temperatures.
“I must have offended when I said somebody referred to them as cockroaches. You know what this person told me about cockroaches? They are resilient, they survive in fridges, they survive in stoves, they survive [under] extreme temperatures, very cold rooms, you will find a cockroach, very hot temperatures, you will find a cockroach. So, this man was saying the Chinese are like cockroaches, they survive everywhere. We can’t eliminate them; let’s just work with them,” said President Lungu.
But Maj Kachingwe, a former MMD national secretary and diplomat, stated yesterday that he learnt with shock and disgust “insults” against the Bemba speaking people attributed to the Head of State.
“If it is true that the Head of State indeed uttered these insulting words against the Bemba speaking people, who massively voted for him, I demand an unreserved public apology from him,” Maj Kachingwe stated.
“For all we know, the Patriotic Front is in power today because of the massive support from the Bemba on the Copperbelt, Muchinga, Luapula, Northern and parts of Central provinces who are today being insulted, called as thieves. Maybe we are also to blame as Bembas because we have supported successive leaders with their parties to get into power and have always gotten nothing in return. Our areas still remain undeveloped and all we get are insults and ridicule from successive governments we have put into office to govern us.”
Maj Kachingwe recalled that Bemba people vehemently and valiantly fought for Cha Cha Cha but their man (Simon Mwansa Kampwempwe) was forced out of government by the people they supported.
“Successive governments have looked down on us the Bemba people and insulted us. Maybe we are to blame for being wavering and vacillating without unity of purpose,” Maj Kachingwe stated.
“If this insult is true then it should be a call for us Bemba people, both in government and outside, on the streets and villages, to start thinking about our future status in this country because we can no longer cower listening to the organised thumping of our hearts as an ethnic grouping. We have been unsettled enough, time has come for us to start practicing what others have been doing in other areas; ‘Mwana noko awama libili’ or ‘Mwana mayo’ (support their own).”
Maj Kachingwe also called on the Chinese envoy to Zambia to take note of the insulting and derogatory statement by President Lungu at the same event that the Chinese were like cockroaches.
“It is un-statesmanship, undiplomatic and unbecoming of a Head of State to liken any race of people to cockroaches. The Head of State’s statement that Chinese are like cockroaches because like them (cockroaches), are resilient and able to survive in extreme temperatures must be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians,” stated Maj Kachingwe.
“President Lungu must be reminded that such talk will only serve to promote xenophobia against the Chinese people who have been our country’s all weather friends.”