VINCENT Chaile is worried that given President Edgar Lungu’s remarks, soon companies will stop employing Bembas he has branded as thieves.
Chaile, opposition Radicle Revolutionary Party president, lamented that careless remarks such as the one uttered by President Lungu against one another’s tribes, colour or creed had been a source of conflicts and wars in some parts of the world.
During an Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ)-organised gala dinner in Lusaka fortnight ago, 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, and 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.
Commenting on President Lungu’s recent remarks that out of 10 thieves, six are Bemba, Chaile said things that one was born with and that could not be changed such as tribe and religion were a serious source of conflict.
“We would like President Edgar Lungu to clear the air as to what perimeters were used to authenticate that 6 out 10 Bembas are thieves. It’s sad that President Edgar can come out in public and say 6 out of 10 Bembas are thieves owing to the office he holds and status in society. The statement itself was so unfortunate coming from the Head of State, who is supposed to be a unifying factor of the country,” Chaile said.
“Things that we were born with and that we cannot change ourselves like tribe and religion are serious sources of conflicts. The moment some tribes are perceived more important than the others or perceived to be a thieving tribe is the beginning of total confusion. PF stronghold is Bembaland and according to the president, most Bembas are thieves meaning even his elections is stolen and not authentic.”
Chaile wondered what the Head of State was insinuating about most of his influential ministers in his government who are Bembas.
He charged that President Lungu’s statement was aimed at dividing the country and noted that in countries where peace was valued, he would have been impeached by now.
He further lamented that President Lungu’s statement was damaging to the Bemba, who were now viewed as thieves in society.
Chaile wondered if there would be any investor willing to employ a man from a tribe that had a thieving tag as proclaimed by their President.
“This revelation raises a lot of questions in that most of his influential ministers in his Cabinet are Bemba. In other countries where they value peace President Edgar Lungu would have been impeached for such a statement, which is aiming at dividing the already divided country. His statement may not have an impact now but in future it will have huge impact. Soon companies will stop employing Bembas because they are perceived to be thieves. Foreign investors, I am sure heard it for themselves that Bembas are thieves and surely which investor would risk to work with perceived thieves?” asked Chaile.