Editor's Comment

Come back home

SINCE the outbreak of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa about a fortnight ago, the reaction of the world community has been that of criticising the host government for failing to provide leadership.
The South African government was expected to come out strongly against the xenophobia, which was targeted at mostly Africans.
Video footage showed gruesome attacks, in some instances with the police standing idly by.
The backlash saw Nigerians attacking South African businesses in that country, with MTN, Shoprite and DStv being the targets.
Here in Zambia, students from the University of Zambia attacked Pick n Pay, a South African supermarket at East Park Mall, and also held a demonstration at the South African High Commission.
Shopping malls, where most of the South African business interests are based, closed shop temporarily to avert looting.
There was a veiled threat by some citizens to boycott South African businesses but that has since fizzled out.
On his part, President Edgar Lungu condemned the xenophobic attacks in all its forms and manifestations.
President Lungu said attacks of this nature targeted at foreigners call for urgent concerted measures by the South African government and the regional bodies.
The President also denounced the protests held by UNZA students over the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa.
Nigeria has started repatriating some of its nationals who no longer feel safe to continue living in South Africa.
A Nigerian airline has since started ferrying the willing Nigerians back to their country.
Though no Zambian has been killed in South Africa, some have been on the receiving end of the xenophobic attacks.
Two Zambians were hacked and beaten. They were attended to at some hospitals and they are out of danger.
Following the attacks, the Zambia Association in South Africa (ZASA) encouraged Zambians that would want to be evacuated from South Africa to Zambia to send their details to a WhatsApp number which was provided.
So far, it is not clear as to how many Zambians volunteered to return home.
It is true that some Zambians, just like some other African nationals, may not be in formal employment or doing serious businesses.
Even those with good professional qualifications or businesses should consider returning home – sweet home.
Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya says Zambians who feel unsafe to continue living in South Africa in the wake of xenophobic attacks should return home.
Ms Siliya has also urged Zambians in South Africa to register their presence with the High Commission in Pretoria so that every citizen is accounted for.
Following her counsel for its citizens to return to Zambia if they feel unsafe in South Africa, there is need for an official notice in the national press and through the High Commission.
The Zambian mission in Pretoria should put measures to ensure the safety of citizens in that country.
Beyond registering, some citizens in South Africa may need help in terms of travel to return home and how they will start life afresh in Zambia.
For those working, Government should find a way of setting up a database as well as linking them to potential employers.
For business people, they too need to find where to trade from when they are back.
Appropriate government agencies should work with the Zambian mission in Pretoria through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help citizens return home and become productive.

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