LUNGU is more of a criminal than the Bembas he is insulting today, says Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba. Reacting to President Edgar Lungu’s remarks that out of 10 thieves, six are Bemba, Mwamba, the UPND vice-president, said to the contrary, it was Head of State who not long ago only had flip flops but today if wealthiest man in Zambia.
During an Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) 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 said.
“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 Bembas 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.”
But Mwamba said the President’s statement was strange because most of the people that voted for him were Bemba.
“I find it very weird to have this kind of statement from a President of a country whereby the majority who voted for him are from the same tribe whom today he is accusing of being criminals,” Mwamba said. “My honest response is that he is more a criminal than the Bembas themselves because if you look at him, those of us who were in PF and made PF what it is and formed government, we did not see him with anything…he had literally nothing apart from flip flops and drinking Kachasu but today he is one of the wealthiest people living in Zambia through corruption. So who is a thief between Bembas and himself?”
Mwamba said most people that speak Bemba were mostly mistaken to be from the Bembaland.
He, however, said his tribesmen were reaping what they sowed by voting President Lungu into office.
“And if you look at the history of this country, RB (Rupiah Banda), where is he from? Dora Siliya where is she from? All from the east [Eastern Province]. If we go by his statistics, which he claims he has, we will find that worst criminals are from the east than the few Bembas. In fact, most people speak Bemba even if they are not Bemba but they are classified as Bembas,” he said. “I want to tell my fellow Bembas that they are reaping what they sowed, they said let’s vote for Edgar Lungu because he is our cousin and is humble but now he has turned against them and is calling them criminals. Of course, he is not calling me a criminal because I have never been one. Even when he had nothing, they had nothing in PF, I had the money but today he has started calling people that ushered them into office as criminals.”
Mwamba reminded President Lungu of the repercussions of his statement as Head of State. He feared that Zambians who speak Bemba would now be viewed as thieves both at home and abroad because the pronouncement came from the Presidency.
“What Lungu is forgetting is that anything that comes from a President is policy. He claims that he had statistics and that means that he has been given statistics by the system that six out of 10 criminals are Bemba,” Mwamba said.
“So what he was saying was policy which will be something that will remain in the minds of the Zambian people and beyond Zambia. Today if you go abroad you will be asked ‘which tribe do you come from’ and if you come from Zambia and are Bemba they will say you are a criminal…so we shall not be able to trade freely.”
He urged Bembas to rise to the occasion and show President Lungu that Bembas were important and their vote counts.
“It is very unfortunate, he has dented the image of, we, Bembas. I can safely say that come the next general elections, I don’t know when, I think Bembas now realise that they ushered in a wrong person,” said Mwamba.
“He is a person who doesn’t mean well to the Bembas. I think it’s about time Bembas rose to the occasion, they must show certain people like Edgar Lungu that us Bembas are important, every vote counts.”