FORMER home affairs minister Dr Peter Machungwa says Local Government Minister Charles Banda has emboldened erring Chinese nationals living in Zambia to continue breaking laws after he publicly rebuked Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa over the closure of their businesses which were racially segregating Zambians.

In a statement, Dr Machungwa wondered why Dr Banda described Sampa’s actions as regrettable when he should have backed the Mayor and deported the law-breaking Chinese nationals.

“I want Minister Banda to know that the behaviour by those Chinese businesspersons is unacceptable and illegal in this country. As Minister, he should have commended and supported his Mayor. In my view, those erring Chinese individuals should have been deported immediately to make them as examples to similarly-minded foreign investors. The fact that government has remained mute on the offending Chinese, and the fact that Mayor Miles Sampa was made to apologize to the Chinese for trying to protect Zambians against racist and illegal behaviour, speaks volumes about where the loyalty of government political leadership lies. And make no mistake, these developments will embolden those erring and similarly-minded Chinese to become even more arrogant against Zambians and even you, yourselves in leadership, will not be respected by them. Let me end by cautioning that the moment a political leadership stops to defend and safeguard the rights and interests of its citizenry in preference to those of non-citizens, such leadership forfeits its right and privileges to lead its citizenry,” Dr Machungwa stated.

“I have just viewed a video clip where Local Government Minister Charles Banda called the withdrawal of licenses and closure of some Chinese businesses regrettable. We know that he was referring to Miles Sampa, who went and closed some businesses where a Chinese colour bar against Zambians was being practiced. In the two publicized incidents, there was a Chinese restaurant where black Zambians were not allowed to enter and were being referred to as foreigners, while only Chinese were allowed to enter. The second incident involved a barbershop at East Park Mall where black Zambians were being denied service and only Chinese were being served. In yet another incident, Mayor Miles Sampa went to the rescue of Zambian workers, who were being locked in their workplace by their Chinese employers. The workers were being prevented from going home for weeks on end because, according to their Chinese employers, the workers would bring the COVID virus to the factory from their homes, yet the Chinese themselves were able to live their normal lives. What irony considering that the Coronavirus came from Wuhan, China, not from a Zambian township!”

He further stated that government officials’ silence on the controversial incidents gave credence to claims that Zambia had emerged into a new Chinese colony.

“So far, apart from Mayor Miles Sampa, I have not seen or heard any strong action by Dr Banda or any of his colleagues in government to condemn the racist and illegal behaviour by the Chinese in question. This lack of strong action or statement to defend Zambians against blatant Chinese racism and illegality on Zambian soil gives credence to those, who are saying that Zambia has, indeed, become a new Chinese colony and that the Zambian government leadership is tolerating such activities by some Chinese because they are eating with them! Please, Dr Banda, wake up and smell the coffee: Zambia is for Zambians. Finally, for us Zambians, if we remain quiet about this abuse of our rights by the Chinese, then we are just as guilty as government leaders, who are allowing Chinese illegality and racism to flourish in our country. Zambians, stand up and be counted, voice your concern,” stated Dr Machungwa.

Last Tuesday, Dr Banda had warned Sampa to stick to his lane and desist from closing down Chinese-owned businesses without following laid-down procedure.

This was after the Lusaka Mayor had unilaterally revoked trading licenses of Chinese-owned businesses without engaging the relevant offices and institutions.

The former Matero PF lawmaker subsequently apologized for his conduct at a press briefing, Wednesday, after Dr Banda publicly rebuked him.