Friday, June 14, 2024

Local stakeholders urge the UPND Government to swallow its pride and engage China on Zambia’s Debt

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Socialist Party of Zambia President Dr Fred M’membe has joined local stakeholders in urging the UPND Government to swallow its pride and engage China on the huge debt Zambia owes the gigantic Asian nation.

After forming the New Dawn Government in August 2021, the UPND regime has been seen aligning itself more to the Western countries such as America.

Foreign policy analysts have observed a shift away from China, Zambia’s major creditors, to the west.

Just last week, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) urged the Government to step up bilateral engagement with China in order to expedite the prolonged debt restructuring process under the G20 Common Framework.

JCTR Executive Fr. Alex Muyebe, S.J said the perceived foreign policy shift by the New Dawn Government must not be allowed to jeopardize the debt restructuring negotiations.

He said the interest of the Zambian people must take precedence over the geo-political and economic dynamics between the West and China.

“With the aim of speeding up the debt restructure process; the Zambian government needs to step up bilateral engagement with China (Zambia’s largest creditor) to help expedite the restructuring process under the G20 Common Framework. The perceived foreign policy shift must not be allowed to jeopardize the debt restructuring negotiations. The interest of the Zambian people must take precedence over the geo-political and economic dynamics between the West and China. Ultimately it is the Zambian people who are bearing the brunt of delayed debt restructuring and who will bear consequences in the event that the debt restructuring deal collapses,” Fr. Muyebe said.

Adding his voice to the call on the Government to engage China, Dr. M’membe said President Hakainde Hichilema and his government should immediately engage China on a bilateral basis to give Zambia a three-year freeze on its debt.

Dr. M’membe charged that the debt restructuring process under the G20 Common Framework Zambia is grappling won’t be concluded soon.

He said President Hichilema should know that China has been good to Zambia and other countries.

“Given our underperforming economy, we urge Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his government of the need to immediately ENGAGE China on a bilateral basis to give us a three-year moratorium on its debt while we grapple with the never-ending IMF-G20 common framework. Mr Hichilema should be ever mindful of the fact that China has never threatened our independence. We have never been subjected to any form of mistreatment or exploitation by China. We can’t say the same about the US,” Dr. M’membe said.

The Socialist Party leader added that Zambians should not forget the non-aligned approach to foreign policy that enables the country to live well, work well and cooperate with any country in the world.

“Let’s do what’s right for us and for our people. Let us not forget the non-aligned approach to foreign policy that enables us to live well, work well and cooperate with any country in the world. This allows us to engage with all countries for our own good. In the end, we want to see a better Zambia, with or without us in power,” Dr. M’membe said.

Meanwhile, opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) President Kasonde Mwenda is one leader who has also cautioned President Hichilema against sidelining China in preference to the West.

Mr. Kasonde said it is time for President Hichilema to take the interest of the nation above him and face China.

He said there was a need for President Hichilema to sit down with China outside the International Monetary Fund (IMF) framework over the $6 billion national debt

“China has cancelled Zambian debt multiple times before, to the tune of $259 million over the period 2000-2018. Yet under Hakainde Hichilema’s regime, over a year has passed yet all efforts to restructure Zambia’s $6 Billion foreign debt owed to China under the IMF framework remain fruitless. The main reason for failure is simply because instead of engaging China directly as we always do, Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema is too yoked to Western puppetry and would rather travel to London and US and lobby the West to talk on his behalf to China to restructure our debt as he gets a reward of a paltry $1.3 billion IMF loan,” Mr. Mwenda said.

11 COMMENTS

  1. HH is barely skilled on foreign policy. We also have a very immature Foreign Minister. The western nations are using HH as a foot-soldier to China so that they draw a template to use when dealing with China and its African Partners. The world is moving to electric cars and nearly 82% of minerals needed to make Car Batteries are in Africa. One just needs to look at USA Foreign Policy when it needed Oil from the Middle East & OPEC Nations. Now we have the G20 failing to reach an agreement to help Zambia.

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  2. Do we have to grovel and bring ourself so low. By doing that, the Chinese will use us even more as their footstool. The Chinese already think they own Zambia and we are their colony. M’membe just talks rubbish”Western puppetry”.
    HH is right, this regime did not accumulate the debt and he should not allow himself to be villified and humiliated by the Chinese.
    We are showing we are an independent nation and not Chinese surfs.

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  3. Foolish politicking over a critical national issue. The govt is engaging China. China has always had their own motive in lending sums to Zambia that they knew we would fail to pay. Fred and the Catholic father forget that their PF bedfellows who were so close to China failed to sort out this mess with China. It isn’t a case of simple engagement. There are other motives at play here.

  4. Congratulations to my beautiful niece who passed ziale with flying colours. She is inthe top 3. I now have a lawyer who will represent and defend my interests. She is fierce. Upnd wapya she is coming for you

  5. Spot on Ben, Chinese think we owe them and have began to project imperialist spirit. They have taken over Sri Lanka sea port, Jibhout sea port on the red sea. This isall because they owe China. Remember, they nearly took over KKIA over Tazala and Tazama debts acquired by Zambia before we were born. New Dawn approach to debt management should not compromise with Zambia’s sovereignty.

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  6. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) President Kasonde Mwenda
    Copy cat. A Zambian briefcase party founded on noise making.
    Julius Malema does not make noise aimlessly.

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  7. China surpassed the US as the number one manufacturer of goods destined not only for the developing world but the western developed nations. Do you know what that means? The days of thinking made in China as inferior are long gone. They will give you what you pay for. The assistance Zambia had received in the past has been one of great goodwill and it is not China to blame for how that aid was misused but previous regimes. Today lies an opportunity for China to step in and assist us but to do so we must take the first step, Zambia is an old friend of China, ” a friend in need is a friend indeed”.

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  8. What imperialist spirit are you talking about???? Don’t lie the problem has never been China but us Zambians and how we manage not only the funds the Chinese assisted us with but our own resources. Don’t blame China for the problems we are in. Look at Tazara and our Zambia Railways…look at how ZRL was stripped who was responsible for that nonsense is it not the MMD govt some of whom were in PF and are still even in the current UPND govt. The problem is you not the Chinese.

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  9. The govt is engaging China. China has always had their own motive in lending sums to Zambia that they knew we would fail to pay. Fred and the Catholic father forget that their PF bedfellows who were so close to China failed to sort out this mess with China. It isn’t a case of simple engagement. There are other motives at play here.

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