Sean Tembo
Sean Tembo

By NewsMakers

OPPOSITION Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) leader Sean Tembo says it was wrong for President Hakainde Hichilema to beg Saudi Arabia to forgo the $13 million loan which it gave to Zambia.

He says it was morally bankrupt for the President to beg for such given that Saudi Arabia is already doing so much for Zambia.

Tembo says President Hichilema lacks proper diplomatic etiquette and must be ashamed of himself.

“Republican President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema met a Special Envoy of the King of Saudi Arabia at State House. The President took advantage of this occasion to publicly appeal to the King to convert the $13 million loan that we owe the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, into a grant.”

He further said “If the President possessed sound diplomatic skills, he was supposed to utilize the occasion of the visit by the King’s Special Envoy to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for all the good deeds that they have done for this country, and further offering what we can do for them.”

“It is my humble submission that the President behaved in a morally bankrupt manner when he publicly requested the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cancel our $13 million loan.”

Tembo says:

“If we are going to sustain good relations with countries that like us, our foreign policy must seek to add some kind of value to such countries. For instance, during the many visits by former Heads of State to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which we solicited for cheaper oil, the Kingdom did express a need which they have and which they hoped we could fulfill. That was to export some goats to them, possibly because they are largely a desert, and their goats do not have enough pasture. But up until now, we have not exported a single goat to them. But they proceeded to donate a $145 million hospital, which will be the biggest hospital in Zambia once completed. And when the King’s Special Envoy visits Hichilema at State House, instead of hosting a huge state banquet for him, as a way of saying thank you and also as a way of apologizing for our failure to send any goats up there, he is met with a public request from the President for more freebies in the form of debt forgiveness. And also, the fact that the debt forgiveness request was made publicly instead of privately, smacks of blackmail by the President. As things stand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be compelled to forgive our $13 million debt even if they have no capacity to do so. Just because our morally bankrupt President blackmailed them to do so. That is shameful diplomacy by the President.”


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