There is a valid reason why people laugh when a snake charmer gets bitten by the serpent he is trying to tame. Naturally, human beings are not expected to mess with wild animals because these creatures have a natural killer instinct and you never know when they may bite or indeed kill you. Even among domestic animals, if you step on a dog’s tail, it can bite you even if you own it.
But there are people who feel they possess unique super powers for doing the impossible. They go out into the wild to provoke nature, tying to show off to the world how uniquely talented they are at taming vicious creatures. The Bible in Sirach 12:13-15 tells us not to feel sorry for such people when they get bitten. In other words, people are at liberty to laugh at you when your magic trick fails to work. It is painful to you who is in the situation, but it is a humorous piece of entertainment to the audience.
This is what is happening to Zambia today. When experts warned that “these loans you are contracting at this rate are dangerous and will swallow your economy” nobody in government cared to listen. The IMF came and told our leaders, “look, your country’s reserves are dwindling, allow us to help your fiscal management with our bailout package”. But President Edgar Lungu, his spokesperson Mr Amos Chanda and Finance Minister Mrs Margaret Mwanakatwe repeatedly told the IMF to go to hell, claiming they had unique super powers to borrow as they wished and make the debt invisible.
The world is laughing at our humble leader of this great country because he has found himself in the shoes of a snake charmer who gets bitten. They are laughing at the Minister of Finance because her magic trick on how to make debt disappear has failed to work. It is painful to us as a people who are being led by these clueless snake charmers, but it is valuable entertainment to institutions on the global financial market. This is why Bloomberg and Africa Confidential are on our case like flies on carcass.
So, we found it comical last week to hear State House accuse Bloomberg and the UK based Africa Confidential, of being paid to peddle lies about the Zambian economy. It is funny that when contracting the loans, government was happy with news reports that encouraged lenders to do business with Zambia, but now that they have misused that money and the economy is nose-diving, State House doesn’t want the lenders to hear about it. They want this development to be kept hash hash!
“The second matter [for which I called this press briefing] is the concerted attacks on the currency, on the country’s economy clearly by elements that have been paid to peddle lies about the state of the economy. State House finds that it is extremely unfortunate that publications such as Africa Confidential and Bloomberg have dedicated the past week peddling lies about our economy to undermine the country in the eyes of the financial market by insisting on non-existent default. Zambia is in the financial market, it has borrowed money so if you begin to hint on the default, you are actually trying to incite the markets to be nervous about the Zambian economy and therefore ultimately what you hope to achieve is to strangulate the economy by stopping Foreign Direct Investment,” said the State House Press Aide, Saturday.
“For Africa Confidential, our views are very known, it’s no longer a publication that it was, it is a formerly respected tabloid that has willingly transformed itself into a scandal sheet and that is very regrettable. What we find extremely puzzling is the agenda we have seen in the past weeks where Bloomberg would pitch a story on fictitious analysts hinting at the default (on loans). Bloomberg is making very preposterous, extreme preposterous allegations; drawing a parallel between Zambia and Venezuela; for lack of a better term, that makes Bloomberg unrecognisable to us”.
Excuse us Mr Chanda and your President; stop fooling citizens. You people have sufficient education and it is expected that even when you wish to rebut media reports, you will do so diligently. Suggesting that Bloomberg has been paid to scandalize Zambia, of all countries, only succeeds in making the world’s laughter louder. Bloomberg paid to tell lies about Zambia’s economy? Do these people think properly when making these allegations? Maybe State House can name any other country where Bloomberg is accused of publishing fabricated financial analyses.
Really, this is laughable. But our advice is that State House must stop wasting time fighting those who are laughing at Zambia. You thought you were very talented borrowers, but the national debt has stuck its teeth into your Treasury and you are bleeding profusely. The best is to look around for where you can get help, swallow your pride and accept the reality that you have plunged the country into chaos.
Meanwhile, if you want ZNBC to tell the voters where to find kasaka kandalama, let Bloomberg also inform the international lenders why their money may not be repaid.