Editor's Comment

Let’s have civility in politics

KAMBWILI

ZAMBIA has several of her citizens doing all manner of jobs outside the country.
These jobs include being drivers, maids, security guards, bricklayers and plumbers.
Similarly, the country has also hosted a number of foreigners from all corners of the world who are engaged in trading, are engaged by contractors in the mines as well as companies constructing roads and other infrastructure.
This is so because Zambia is a member of the global world and cannot afford to restrict who should work here.
Doing so may disadvantage our citizens who are earning a living from both skilled and unskilled jobs outside the country.
It was therefore mindboggling that former Cabinet Minister Chishimba Kambiwli should be so angrily opposed to foreigners as is evident in a video in which he berates a man he calls an Indian.
Mr Kambwili tells the man, operating a compactor on the on-going road rehabilitation works in Lusaka, to go back to India.
For a man who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Labour and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Mr Kambwili is the last person who is expected to show such racial intolerance.
That unemployment levels in the country are on the higher side is not in contention.
That is why Government through Immigration Department is screening people who apply for work permits.
The bottom line is that people applying for work permits should convince Government that their skills are in short supply in the country.
Skill comes with experience.
So, in as much as we agree with Government on the need to limit granting permits to foreigners, it was not right for Mr Kambwili, the National Democratic Congress consultant, to accost the Indian worker doing his work.
It is clear Mr Kambwili was playing to the gallery.
In fact, Mr Kambwili’s accosting of the man on the compactor bordered on racism.
Beyond that, Mr Kambwili’s attacks on an innocent man bordered on violating the rights of the Indian.
If indeed Mr Kambwili was not politicking, he should have sought an audience with the Indian worker’s employers to find out why it was not a Zambian he found on site.
Mr Kambwili’s behaviour has potential to incite violence against the Indian worker and other foreigners working in Zambia.
Jobless youths, especially those in the NDC, may take advantage of their consultant’s ire and harass innocent foreign workers.
Mr Kambwili should have bothered to find out from this man’s employers the basis for him operating the compactor.
For all we know, this man could have even been a supervisor who is multi-skilled and a hands-on person, not the kind of boss who gives instructions from a distance.
Zambia is in need of such skills, and so uttering offensive remarks against foreigners, or indeed any human being, is unacceptable.
Besides, Mr Kambwili should know the impact his utterances are likely to have in the international community.
Such actions have potential to paint the country black as investors will think Zambia is not receptive to foreign workers.
We are aware Mr Kambwili is in a hurry to woo voters ahead of the 2021 elections, but surely there must be civility in the manner this is done.
Politicians should learn to politic in a manner which is acceptable to all.

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