Someone told me Chinese are like cockroaches because they survive everywhere, says President Edgar Lungu.

And President Lungu says out of 10 thieves, six are Bemba.

Meanwhile, President Lungu says all Zambians are to blame for the country’s failure to prosper over the years due to lethargy.

Speaking during an Economics Association of Zambia organized gala dinner, President Lungu said the Chinese were too many and getting rid of them was impractical.

“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 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. So if the Chinese population is 1.8 billion, and then the world population is only, so invariably, 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’re wasting your time. So if you say “they are thieves”, yes you are bound to find a thief because they are many,” President Lungu said.

“So you say let’s chase Chinese from Zambia, how? Because 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.”

He said the Chinese, like 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 extreme temperatures, very cold rooms, you’ll find a cockroach, very hot temperatures, you’ll 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,” he said.

President Lungu said all Zambians were to blame for the country’s failure to prosper over the years due to lethargy.

“I will chat with the President of EAZ, I am targeting the Engineering Institution of Zambia for being aloof to government projects…they are not interested in providing professional advice.
A case in point is the construction of the new Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. Right now, it does not have refrigeration equipment and it is expected that we will be exporting goats and fast wasting food stuff to the rest of the world, how do we keep those things there? As a government we said we will refurbish Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, it is up to economists, engineers to tell us “as you go ahead with this, have you provided for this? Not the politician. Even when building roads, you’ll tell us that this area, requires a drainage. The Kalabo-Mongu Road was a challenge, it took three governments to take it to where it is all because of the lethargy of The professionals. Because if you tell the government that “this area washes away quickly and if you do this road it’ll wash away, we wouldn’t have lost money in the MMD government, the UNIP government. I am saying that successive failure of prosperity in this country is not the cause of politicians alone, it is the cause of lethargy on the part of all of us, particularly professionals,” President Lungu said.

“I am therefore upon all stakeholders to partner with government in working towards the realisation of our vision 2030, it is not too late.”

He commended EAZ for its ability to give advise to government, devoid of malice.

“I wish to commend the Economic Association of Zambia to provide government with forward looking advice. And when we say forward looking advice, we don’t mean you don’t criticize us, you criticize us but you do it in such a manner that we appreciate that we are wrong. And therefore, we look forward to keep chatting with you so that you continue guiding us. But if you come with a know it all attitude like some people, we close up,” said President Lungu.