Editor's Comment

Investors should respect law

THE Zambia Development Agency

WE VALUE investors because they bring the capital needed for the country’s development.

Investors come along with expertise and equipment. Others bring inspiration, like the Somalians and Lebanese did when they pioneered block-making in the country.
Zambians have since joined the business and are giving foreign nationals stiff competition.
This country has been hospitable to investors because they are our partners in development.
In so doing, investors are expected to follow procedure before setting up their operations in our country.
That is why they make the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) their first port of call where they are guided on procedure.
The ZDA then directs investors to their next stations, which may be local authorities, traditional leaders or indeed professional bodies.
Through this interaction, investors are expected to understand that this country has laws and people.
When an investor chooses to establish themselves where there are people, it is common sense to negotiate with the inhabitants.
Our people are welcoming and have rarely turned down requests for investments from well-meaning investors whose story they will buy provided there is a give-and-take arrangement.
The investor is naturally expected to take stock of the inhabitants’ property and offer compensation acceptable to the people to be displaced.
In fact, the investor should offer double what is obtaining at the time.
Government has made an effort to ensure that our people usually live close to a school or health facility besides the fertile land and water sources.
However, there are rogue investors who have the impunity to defy the law, abuse our welcome and humiliate local communities.
They evict our people without any compensation as a video by the Human Rights Watch has exposed.
We are glad that President Lungu is aware of the report by the Human Rights Watch about hundreds of Zambians who have been displaced from their land by commercial farmers.
The displacement of local communities by some investors is unbecoming.
The situation in Serenje may be a countrywide scenario.
We are worried that the local leadership in the affected areas had gone to sleep.
No civic, political, traditional or religious leader will convincingly keep quiet when things are not right with their people.
We honestly should not have waited for people from outside the country to expose the plight of our people.
Days are surely numbered for those investors who have outlived their welcome by abusing our people.
We commend the Human Rights Watch for publishing a 101-page report cataloguing miseries of hundreds of Zambians who have been displaced from their land by commercial farmers for the whistle-blowing.
To those abusive investors, days are numbered because there is overwhelming evidence about their atrocities.
We implore civil society to build capacities of our rural folk to become whistle-blowers instead of waiting for foreign agents to do it on our behalf.
Zambia deserves investors who respect its laws and people.

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