JOHANNESBURG – Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has explicitly blamed Zimbabweans for all the xenophobic events in South Africa over the years.
Hichilema who was speaking during an interview with SABC News in South Africa appealed to regional leaders to push for free and fair polls in Zambia this August in order to avert another regional implosion.
“It is important to our country. It is important to this region that we have stability in Zambia because instability in Zambia has a negative effect on South Africa, on other countries in the region as we saw it in Zimbabwe,” said Hichilema.
The serial elections loser Hichilema outlined the importance of having a stable Zambia in the region for the benefit of South Africa by making reference to the economic crisis facing neighbouring country Zimbabwe.
“When Zimbabwe was unstable, it created unnecessary pressures here (South Africa) arising from immigration because Zimbabweans were leaving their country because it was unsafe, flooded South Africa,” he said.
Hichilema who is the leader of the United Party for National Democracy (UPND) then went to the extreme and solely blamed Zimbabweans for the ugly events of xenophobia in South Africa over the years.
“We will not be far from the truth to say the xenophobia that we saw was arising from the pressures of Zimbabweans coming into South Africa and ‘assumed’ to have taken jobs that South Africans should have ordinarily occupied.
“And that is not good for a country like South Africa to be caught up with xenophobic acts when South Africa itself is a product of regional support,” he concluded.
The remarks by the man who is favourite to dislodge incumbent Edgar Lungu from the hot seat in August General Elections will unlikely be received warmly by many Zimbabweans at large.
Zimbabwe has been struggling economically due to a number of factors that have emanated from an incompetent government.
The country has had to grapple with the rise in corruption as most opportunities are now available on a ‘you know who’ system.