Zambia's plan to employ Chinese nationals as Police officers causes outrage

On Monday, the copper rich nation police force commissioned plans to employ eight Chinese nationals to serve as police reservists in an official ceremony held at the capital, Lusaka.

On Monday, the copper rich nation commissioned plans to employ eight Chinese nationals to serve as police reservists in an official ceremony held at the capital, Lusaka.

However the celebration was short lived and the backlash was immediate, Zambians took to social media and traditional avenues where they vented their anger forcing the police force to scrap the plans barely 24 hours after it unveiled the scheme.

Dickson Jere, a lawyer and former presidential spokesman, who spoke to BBC Africa said that the entire incident was an "insult" - to others in the police, but also other Zambians.

"How would we be feeling to see a police officer and be saluting a Chinese [national] in our own country?"

Jere added that the scheme was not only highly unpopular but also went against the Zambian Constitution.

"When we see a uniform of the police, it signifies our identity. It signifies our sovereignty," Mr Jere said.

Police spokeswoman Esther Mwata-Katongo had said the chinese nationals would just assist regular officers.

"We had Indians who were police reserves and people were OK with it. Why should the Chinese be discriminated on race?" the Lusaka Times quoted her as saying.

Indian police reservists unlike the Chinese nationals are only Indian by race but were born in Zambia and therefore Zambians citizens by birth.

The anger was also especially prompted by Zambia’s ruling earlier this year that banned police officers from marrying foreigners citing "security reasons" yet it could allow ‘foreigners to serve in its force.

Not even Zambians with dual-nationality are allowed to join the police.

"When you get married, they say that you are one. You know what marriage is - you share secrets. And you can tell officers 'do not disclose' but you have no control. You won't be in their homes to always check on them.”  Katongo told BBC at that time while defended the move as necessary.

According to Lusaka Times, there are about 20,000 Chinese in Zambia as of 2015.

There is deep distrust between Zambians and Chinese with the former accusing the Chinese of taking over their jobs and resources.

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