Tourism and Arts Minister Charles Banda says failure by Zambians to read and understand what is written will rob the country of the much-needed development.

In a statement issued by Tourism Ministry Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe, the Minister, who was reacting to President Edgar Lungu’s recent remarks that “out of every group of 10 Bembas, six would be thieves” and that “Chinese nationals are like cockroaches, which could survive anywhere,” Banda argued that people were deliberately twisting facts to make the Head of State look look bad.

Banda wondered whether there was anything wrong with the two statements when President Lungu was merely quoting what he had read.

“Dr Banda had read the article in question in the News Diggers! and he said it was very clear that in that story, the President was referring to what he had also read where someone said, ‘out of every group of 10 Bemba’s that you meet, six are thieves’. The Minister said the President further referred to what he read that, ‘Chinese people are likes cockroaches. They can survive even in most difficult places and conditions, like in stoves where it is hot or in fridges where it is extremely cold.’ Dr Banda said in this case, the President asked why Zambians cannot be like the Chinese. The Minister wondered whether there was anything with the two statements, and if it was wrong to read and make references to what other people have written. He called on mindset change for all Zambians in the year 2019 as hatred and jealousy would not build the country,” stated Kalembwe in the press release issued, Monday.