Diaspora – ‘No Special Treatment’

THOUSANDS of Zambians working in Gaborone and beyond had a bitter-sweet taste of President Sata’s venom when they made requests ranging from access to land, water and money during a meeting for Zambians living in Botswana.

Mr Sata thought this was tantamount to seeking a ‘special’ kind of treatment Zambians back home do not get.

The event held at a Zambian property not far away from the River Walk Mall, started on a shaky note on Tuesday evening when Tobias Mweendo started complaining about what he called “by-standers” in Zambia and finally cited a non-existent walk out of Parliament recently which he said had been conducted by the Patriotic Front to press for some legislation.

Mr Mweendo’s speech, which often digressed, had to be reduced to just about half an hour, before President Sata decided that talking down to the Zambians, would not be such a good idea after all and asked the more than 2,000 Zambians to ask questions in an impromptu and unprecedented Town Hall-style meeting.

The questions from the Zambians ranged from access to land back home, access to money from the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission and the crucial usual politics of employment.

But after the barrage of questions, President Sata stood up to address the Zambians and told them to get up, pack their bags and return to Zambia and help build the nation, if they felt they were getting a raw deal in Botswana.

“You are saving the lives of Botswana children when your children in Zambia are dying,” Mr Sata said. “You are teaching Botswana children when your children back home have no teachers…you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for having obtained a good Zambian education for free, to come and benefit a country that can afford, you must be ashamed.”

“Why do you want to be given special treatment if you have something to offer? Come back home and offer it,” President Sata said. “It’s clear you have decided to work here in Botswana for an extra kwacha when your people are suffering back home.”

President Sata said it was a shame the “Zambians living abroad chose to moan and complain about doing all sorts of jobs; some good, some bad, when they were needed the most at home and they chose to complain about decisions back home.

“You are saving the lives of Botswana children when your children in Zambia are dying,” Mr Sata said. “You are teaching Botswana children when your children back home have no teachers…you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for having obtained a good Zambian education for free, to come and benefit a country that can afford, you must be ashamed.”

President Sata described as a ‘shame’ the fact that Botswana roads are being designed by Zambian engineers, hospitals run by Zambian doctors and schools taught by Zambian teachers while Zambia lacked in all sectors he mentioned.

“Don’t be surprised if you come home and find the children you left in Grade One are now ministers,” Mr Sata said. “I will make them ministers because they are available and you are not…things are tough everywhere but you have to work hard to make things work. I was in opposition for 10 years and I think you can come back home and make things work if you like, but you chose to work for an extra Kwacha and then complain.”

Earlier, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Given Lubinda challenged Zambians in Botswana to state for the record how many relatives they have taken to live with them in Botswana, in order to improve their lives. Responses to this question were elusive.

The Zambians, who were initially full of anticipation of promises of money and goodies, appeared disillusioned as President Sata reminded them that job creation and economic development in Zambia can only be achieved through hard work at home and not rhetoric abroad./Daily Mail

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