WE wonder if some of the so called western diplomats are here as envoys or spies.
We say this after observing their penchant for interfering in internal affairs that cross diplomatic boundaries and border more on espionage.
With this twist of events, we feel President Edgar Lungu is right in reminding some western diplomats that Zambia values the principle of separation of powers.
As a result of this consideration, the decision by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to take over assets of The Post Newspapers Limited is an independent action to recover tax debt in accordance with the
statutory body’s mandate.
Do our ‘civilised’ friends from developed countries need reminding since they are the ones who left us these institutions to ensure tax is collected.
Our good brothers even instituted collection of hut tax, which was first collected in North-Eastern Rhodesia in 1901 and was slowly extended through North-Western Rhodesia between 1904 and 1913.
Africans obliged by paying taxes to the invincible Queen in England since they were obedient and law abiding citizens under the Crown.
We don’t think they taught us that collecting tax could be political since everyone knows that paying tax is part of any society and hails from as far as biblical times.
Like the President, we are reminding our well-informed friends in diplomatic circles that the judicial proceedings concerning ZRA and The Post Newspapers are not new as the matter dates as far back as
2009 and that it cannot be stayed because of elections.
However, as President Lungu has observed, what is exasperating is that our cooperating partners and stakeholders are failing to note that Zambia is a sovereign State with its own rules and laws governing
internal and external matters, including international relations.
One of the principles of the country is not to interfere in the internal affairs of another country unless with the ultimate resolution of the United Nations or at the invitation of such a sovereign State – that is abiding by the international law, which governs international relations.
In the same vein, Zambia has embraced the tenets of democracy, which govern the process of elections by people’s right to choose leaders of their own choice through the ballot box without undue interference from any corner of the globe.
We are thus greatly concerned about the activities of some foreign diplomats who have been grossly abrogating their duties by interfering in the affairs of a sovereign State that Zambia is.
We have always urged President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to nip these subversive acts in the bud.
It all started with ill-intentioned clandestine meetings by some Western diplomats who were nudging Zambian voters towards voting for an opposition leader following a series of clandestine meetings and the well-measured statements.
These ill-intentioned envoys should be reminded, for the umpteenth time, that the main job of a diplomat is to promote peace and sovereignty of the host State.
The term ‘Diplomat’ comes from Diplomacy, a terminology coined after the Second World War to use peace to resolve international conflicts rather than war, as was propagated by the Realism theorists who saw power as a measure of supremacy and control.
So a diplomat is a carrier or messenger of peace rather than an instigator of anarchy.
As a newspaper, we made our stance clear by not condemning the meeting of the 15 diplomats with Hakainde Hichilema, at his residence in Lusaka, and the subsequent pronouncements, which included wishing him good luck in the August 11 elections.
The source of our concern arose from some diplomats using the platform to dictate to us who should lead this country, a pronouncement that abrogates diplomatic etiquette.
We wondered why, for instance, a diplomat should threaten of IMF squeeze on Zambia if people did not vote into power a leader of their choice.
We are reminding the authorities in Zambia to study the Arab Spring, which refers to the Western orchestrated ‘democratic’ uprisings that arose and spread across the Arab world in 2011.
The movement originated in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly took hold in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
We can see some parallels in the infamous Arab Spring and what Western diplomats are doing clandestinely by choosing the opposition leader and imposing him on Zambians, which we feel is worse than treason.
The diplomats should respect the sovereignty of Zambia and understand that President Lungu was democratically voted by Zambians in free and fair elections.
The disclosure of the so-called ‘Panama Papers’, which saw millions of leaked documents reportedly revealing the use of anonymous offshore shell companies – has brought the issues of illicit financial activity and tax evasion into the spotlight.
The disclosure has led to tax institutions in many countries to seal all loopholes to ensure everyone pays Caesar his dues.
We feel there is nothing political about that.
It is thus highly hypocritical, because the missions that issued the disparaging statements would have settled for nothing but a conviction if their nationals or business entities in their countries of origin erred in a similar manner that the tabloid in Zambia wantonly did.
For instance, there is no big guy or small guy when it comes to tax offences in the United States or the EU because of the noble job taxes do, in terms of delivering social services.
“Convictions for tax offenders “ranged from middle class Joes (ordinary people like you and I) all the way up to top celebrities like Nicolas Cage, Annie Leibovitz and start musician Marc Anthony.”
Zambians who watch high grossing Hollywood movies or read show business news are aware of these personalities, there is no discrimination, sacred cows or special cases when it comes to collecting taxes in the US.
So why then do the US and EU missions in Zambia want to harshly judge Zambia for upholding a Supreme Court decision, upholding a law of the land when they do the same in their countries?