LUSAKA, Nov. 15 — Zambian miners in Kitwe City, Copperbelt Province staged a small demonstration on Tuesday to protest against opposition politicians who have been inciting xenophobic attacks on Chinese investors.
Businessman Richard Chileshe said opposition leaders who were issuing false statements in order to incite people against the government were enemies of peace and development and should stop their misdeeds.
“This demonstration has nothing to do with politics, but it is about the interest of the country’s economy and Zambians who benefit from the partnership between the Chinese and Zambians,” he said, noting that he was crying for the welfare of the innocent Zambians who will suffer if investors decide to leave the country.
He also appealed to the government to deal with those who incite xenophobic attacks on foreigners as they also endanger the lives of Zambians living in foreign nations.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the government, Kitwe Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe said he would relay the message from the youths who oppose xenophobic attacks against foreign investors.
Kang’ombe said he was delighted to hear that Copperbelt youths welcome investment that will develop the country regardless of where it comes from.
Samson Mpembwe, spokesman for the Association of Small Scale Miners, also urged the leaders who incite youths to attack foreign investors to desist, noting political leaders should stop using youths as political tools of violence.
Another Kitwe businessman Simeon Kalobo sent a warning to Hakainde Hichilema, president of the main opposition party, United Party for National Development, urging him to stop causing confusion and breeding division.
Kalobo said Hichilema should stop spreading lies about the sale of the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) without evidence.
Wang Xin, president of the Zambia-Chinese Association (ZCA) Copperbelt Chapter, said he was happy that Chinese investment is supported in Zambia.
Wang said while some Zambians were hostile towards Chinese investors, others appreciate their investment and the good relationship which exists between the two countries.
He hoped that justice would be done to those who were arrested for allegedly damaging and looting shops owned by Chinese nationals in the towns of Chimwemwe and Kawama in Kitwe.
“We are impressed with the solidarity march put up by some Zambians in support of the Chinese investors in the country,” he said.
On Nov. 5, more than 100 people were arrested and five shops owned by Chinese nationals were damaged in a small-scale riot sparked by rumours that ZAFFICO had been sold to Chinese investors.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu has instructed officials in Copperbelt Province to refute the rumors, and ordered local police to investigate the riot, Zambian officials said. – XINHUA