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Foote can’t use US aid as precondition to meet Lungu – KabimbaBy Sipilisiwe Ncube on 4 Dec 2019
Rainbow Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says the political leadership in Zambia does not encourage people to work, but to perpetually beg for donor aid, which in-turn reduces the country’s dignity.
Meanwhile, Kabimba says it is unreasonable for a group of Cabinet Ministers under President Edgar Lungu’s stewardship to have thought of importing electricity that only lasts for 30 days at a cost of US $27 million.
Speaking when he featured on the “Burning Issue” programme on 5FM, Tuesday, Kabimba expressed outrage at US Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote’s sentiments in thinking that Zambians would agree with whatever he said mainly on account of his government’s substantial donor assistance to Zambia.
He also disputed Ambassador Foote’s notion of insisting on meeting President Edgar Lungu mainly on the premise of the US’ $500 million per annum bilateral support to Zambia.
Kabimba was commenting on the brewing diplomatic quarrel between Washington and Lusaka over the jailing of a Kapiri-Mposhi homosexual couple to 15 years, together with government’s mounting corruption and abuse of taxpayers’ funds.
“The logic by the American Ambassador is correct, but the conclusion is wrong! The logic being that, you can’t send somebody to prison for 15 years and you leave the corrupt person walking in the streets of Lusaka. He went further to say that there is so much evidence of corruption in this country. That is not debatable [and] I agree with him fully. But I disagree with Ambassador Foote when he says because you invest so much money to Zambia and that is the only reason why you should be right. You can’t get sperm from a bull and do artificial insemination to another bull; it won’t work and won’t produce a calf. Even pollen or plants, you can’t (pollinate) the female pollen and male pollen. You can’t get an ovum of a woman and go and introduce it into another woman and get a child. Neither can you get sperm from one man and go and introduce it into another man and produce a child. Genetics says no. Even from the 72 tribes in Zambia, I have never heard where a man can marry another man! You can be very good friends, but you can’t strip in front of each other (and) it doesn’t matter how drunk you are, unless you are mad! So, even from the cultural view in Zambia, my brother, I can’t take you,” Kabimba said.
He complained that mental slavery had remained in the African pysche causing excessive dependence on donor support.
“So, to overlook all this and reduce it to the basket of aid is horrifying to me! That the only reason why we should agree with Ambassador Foote is because he is giving us money. And those of us who want to take up the leadership of this country have to be careful with this issue of poverty. Mental slavery is what has remained among us. And we have leadership in Africa and in Zambia that is not telling people to work, but that we must be begging every day and the press briefing by Ambassador Foote is the consequence of dependence,” he argued.
He also charged that donor funders had recruited political party leaders and civil society organizations to blow trumpets on their behalf.
“They have also recruited people amongst us, political party leaders, civil society leaders that blow their trumpets so that when you hear it, you are hearing it from a fellow Zambian, yet when you lift the veil, you find that there is a foreigner behind that voice!” he exclaimed.
But when asked to comment on Ambassador Foote’s claim that efforts to have bilateral meetings had been rescheduled on several occasions, Kabimba insisted that providing donor support was not an “express passport” to meeting a sitting Republican President.
“I have never been a President, but I can imagine that the President has many things on his plate. I don’t know how many times Dr Simbyakula has met with President (Donald) Trump in America. Unfortunately, maybe because he is poor (so) he has nothing to take to Trump! I even know how many times he has met the Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo). If you remember, when Edgar Lungu was at the UN General Assembly in September, he was met by two junior officers from the State Department! Not even the Deputy to the Secretary of State, not even the Secretary to the State met him. They didn’t have time for him. They sent two junior officers to go and meet him in some lounge. That is the status they accord to him. As far as they are concerned, Edgar is at the level of those officers. And Ambassador Foote here wants to be at the level of Edgar Lungu because he is administering US $5 billion of aid? The fact that you have won a lottery does not make you the greatest man in the world! You have just won it by accident. I don’t think that we should be reduced to that level as a country,” Kabimba argued.
He complained that it had been a habit by Western countries to use donor aid to push for regime change.
“We have seen it in many countries how Western countries have used donor aid for regime change. They can starve you to death until people riot and go on the streets to get the government out! Do we think what has happened to country A can’t happen to us? Surely, it can. My appeal to fellow Zambians is what Michael Sata used to say that: ‘I want to bring back dignity to Zambians’ and dignity starts with self-reliance, having food on your table because even ARVs you can’t take them on your empty tummy, they will just accelerate your death!” Kabimba charged.
Meanwhile, Kabimba said it was unreasonable for Cabinet Ministers to press ahead with power imports worth US $27 million only to reduce load shedding for two hours.
“And you are telling me that you are importing power for 30 days at the cost of US $27 million and that will only reduce load shedding by two hours? Surely, if I can bear load shedding for two hours to save US $27 million and you gave me that option, I would tell you that let me bear the two hours of load shedding and get the US $27 million and invest it into something that will better the lives of Zambians. So, I don’t know how a group of Cabinet Ministers under the chairmanship of the President and (having) listened to that paper from the Ministry of Energy and Zesco and think that that’s the best decision they can make under the circumstances. I actually was horrified when I saw that clip. It’s an unreasonable decision,” said Kabimba.
About Sipilisiwe Ncube
Sipilisiwe Ncube has a background in radio news.
Email: sipilisiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
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