Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Kaunda Disturbed by SA Xenophobia
Southern Times
Sep 23, 2019
By Jeff Kapembwa

Lusaka - Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s independence hero and an insignia of anti-colonialism on the continent, regrets the recent xenophobic attacks on Africans in South Africa and says he did not anticipate that in his lifetime, Africans could alienate each other at the expense of humanity.

Kaunda, 95, fears the mushrooming of xenophobia, if allowed to go on, may divide what he and peers never dreamt of at the height of the liberation struggles in Africa.

“I never imagined that I would see such days in my life. How are we going to achieve our goals of uniting Africa if we continue alienating ourselves in such a way?  We must all stand up and fight this mushrooming evil called xenophobia in our African culture,” he told journalists in Lusaka

“I wish to urge the leadership not only in South Africa, but Africa as a continent, not only to stop these barbaric attacks, but also come up with deliberate programmes to inculcate the sense of  Ubuntu in our citizenry,” he said of the vice which claimed several lives, injured many and resulted in the destruction of property.

Kaunda, who is one the last of the Pan-Africanists in the mould of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Samora Machel of Mozambique, Agostinho Neto of Angola, and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, who sought to liberate the continent from the yoke of colonialism, challenged the Southern African Development Community and African Unity to introspect.

The current African leadership should stretch its muscle against xenophobia, the third time it has happened in South Africa, lest the continent loses its African identity, he said.

“I was shocked and terrified to see the heinous violence and horrific incidences in South Africa where blacks are arising against blacks. 

“I wish to urge the South African leadership to reflect and think soberly and stop these inhumane and barbaric attacks on the fellow brothers and sisters. Our brothers in South Africa should remember that these same people they are treating with such cruelty are the same people who were comrades in arms in fighting the brutal apartheid regime.

“It was not an easy road in fighting a brutal and sophisticated regime. It called for concerted efforts from all corners of Africa, in particular, and the world in general,” said Kaunda, challenging leaders on the continent to jointly treat and resolve the xenophobic attacks with the urgency it deserves.

 “They must develop educational programmes, which will ensure that the new generation of African citizens does not forget where they are coming from. And the responsibilities they have towards fellow human beings in the common struggle for total emancipation, especially from poverty.

“We must always remember the guiding principle and philosophy just as our Lord Jesus Christ put it: to love our God and then love our neighbours as we love ourselves.”

With the xenophobic attacks “seemingly simmering”,  the Southern African  leadership  has offered  unreserved apologies to all those that fells victim.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had consistently called for a halt to the barbaric attacks that saw over 600 Nigerians return home in search of safety while others from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and other countries were victims in various places.

President Ramaphosa has since dispatched special envoys from that country to apologise to Nigerians, Zambians, Congolese and other countries whose citizens fell victim. 

 He assured that South African police would "leave no stone unturned" in bringing those involved to justice. President Edgar Lungu and Zambians have accepted the apology tendered by South Africa during the funeral of former President Robert Mugabe in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Zambia said it would also welcome the special envoy that President Ramaphosa would send to meet Lungu,  according to Minister of the Interior, Stephen Kampyongo.

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