Posted on October 20, 2006

Zambian Opposition Leader Launches Fresh Anti-Chinese Attack

China Post, Lusaka, AFP, Oct. 20, 2006

Zambia’s main opposition leader Michael Sata has threatened to grab land fraudulently given to Chinese nationals, whom he had vowed to evict if he were voted to power in last month’s general elections.

Sata, who lost to President Levy Mwanawasa but whose party controls key municipalities in Zambia, said land “bogusly” given to Chinese nationals in areas under his party’s control would be seized, The Post daily said Thursday.

“Zambians have never benefited from land…. Therefore, any land bogusly given to these Chinese, if it is within council boundaries, will go. We will grab it back,” Sata told the newspaper.

“The land will be repossessed without compensation because the whole independence struggle was about land,” said Sata, who is an open supporter of Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe and his controversial land reform programme.

Sata claimed that more than 80,000 Chinese had flocked to Zambia in recent years, taking over businesses and shops from locals.

“We can’t be invaded by more than 80,000 human beings and stand with our hands akimbo,” said Sata, who promised to expel Chinese investors if elected president.

Sata had also threatened to run a rival system of government in municipalities under his control which President Levy Mwanawasa recently branded as treasonous.

Sata had stirred up a storm in the run up to the elections by accusing China of “dumping their people here to take up shops meant for our people” and angered Beijing by describing Taiwan as “a sovereign state.”