Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Kashikulu on Mwanawasa' Challenge to Zambians Abroad

President Mwanawasa has called on Zambians living abroad to consider investing back home to help boost the economy.
Mr. Mwanawasa said Zambians living abroad should help improve the country's foreign exchange earnings by sending financial capital resources into the
national economy.
The President challenged the Zambians to emulate other foreign nationals living in Zambia who are externalizing resources, to their countries of origin for investment.
Source ukzambians.co.uk

Today marked the official end of summer in the US, it has been so hot this year, temperatures have scaled beyond previous records of summer highs. I was just beginning to calm my nerves and catch my breath, after discussing how Zambia missed an opportunity when our President refused to host a US base – when Mwankole brought news of this challenge from President Mwanawasa.
I am beginning to get really concerned, about the perception back home; about the life Zambians in the west live. I won’t speak for every Zambian abroad, but I have been in the US long enough to capture this general scenario.
So, after saving money over many years of working for the Government of the republic of Zambia at pittance; might I add that they could not even pay the poor salary on time, sometimes for months on end, one uncle western-union managed to buy an air ticket to America. Upon arriving in the US, uncle western-union had to navigate the lengthy and elaborate immigration process to acquire a work permit. This process would have been easier, maybe shorter if uncle did not have to repeat himself four maybe ten times to immigration officers before they could understand what he was saying. You must understand English is not uncle’s first language, his poorly paid primary school teacher (am still very grateful Mrs. X) made things even worse by teaching uncle the wrong pronunciation of very useful words like queue (she would say it as kwe -oo).
After getting through immigration, uncle had to find a job fast; he is the only Zambian in this strange neighborhood. The landlord would not buy his promise, to pay his rent the next month; bills were quickly piling up on him. Fortunately, uncle had learnt how to survive on very little while working for GRZ; he soon got his welfare improved. The day he bought his first TV, changed everything, as he was flipping through the channels he saw a report on Zambian orphans by World vision. They showed this young girl in Kasama that relies on the sponsorship of a US family to make ends meet- uncle was so moved. He picked up the phone and called his extended family in Zambia to inquire on their health. Since that call his phone has never stopped ringing, his cousins, nieces and nephews use their Celtel and Cell Z mobile phones to page his home phone. They don’t even care about the time difference, they just want uncle to go to Western union and send them money for food, uniforms, transport you name it!
Unless our President wants Zambians abroad to emulate other Africans, running internet fraud scams, that trick Americans into wiring money to their countries - Mwankole, please tell bakateka Kashikulu is already sending more than 50% of his income to Zambia.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

How right you are Mwankole (Kumushi Kulishani?). The problem is that "Western Union" has become a status symbol in the compounds when a recipient announces in the neighbourhood they are going to Western Union. The fireplace comes alive with sizzling T-Bone steaks, abandon the usual shake-shake pack for Windhoek lager and they lift one shoulder over the other as they flaunt the Western Union takings.
And for as long as a small-scale Chinese investor will receive preferential treatment over a Zambian, forget about serious investment by indigenous Zambians whether local or abroad.
Hammer Ba Roomie--you have the right idea.

MrK said...

Why is Mwanawasa and the MMD so against domestic investors and businesses?

I would really like an answer to that question.

Kashikulu said...

Mrk-

The only reason, I can imagine for MMD and Mwanawasa' lack of support for indigenous investors in contrast to the unrestrained generosity offered to foreigners -is the element of bribes and corruption that so easily comes with the later. It is much easier for them to demand kick backs for basic services like licenses, contracts, patent registration etc from a foreigner than a Zambian who might understand the basic process involved. In dealing with Zambians, there is also the uncomfortable possibility of been neighbors with the party from whom the bribe is demanded, so they just make the process long and cumbersome until we give up or volunteer an inducement in desperation.