Sata Threatens RSZ, Warns Diplomats against ‘Interference’ in Zambia

Today at State House President Michael Sata hinted that he may reverse the privatization of Zambia’s railway system and issued a hostile warning to visiting diplomats.

Sata made these statements to journalists as he presided over the official appointment of Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba as State Counsel, as well as the reception of the letters of accreditation of three foreign diplomats.

Speaking publicly to Kabimba, Sata again instructed him to “use all legal means at his disposal” to return Zambia Railways to “the rightful owners the Zambians,” prompting fears of another state expropriation.

The operation of Zambia Railways was awarded to Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) more than 12 years ago.  Shortly after coming into power, President Sata reversed the privatization of telecommunications firm Zamtel and threatened to expropriate Zanaco, a bank which was also privatized years earlier.

In response to protests over the legality of this measure by the railway operators, President Michael Sata has dared them to go ahead and serve him with writs of summon, commenting that he is aware of the threats and is patiently waiting for them to go forward with legal action against him.

“There is need to ensure that citizens do not fear the law but instead need to be protected by the law,” said Sata.  “It is difficult for justice to prevail when the Justice Department is operating in deplorable conditions.”

And speaking when he received letters of accreditation from three foreign envoys accredited to Zambia, President Sata cautioned diplomats “not to interfere with the country’s internal politics.”

President Sata has also advised diplomats to change their habit of visiting him at State House, telling them that the proper procedure was to go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The three envoys that presented their credentials were Somalia’s Mohamed Hassan Daware, Sifamu In-umoru Momoh of Nigeria and German’s Bernd Finke.

Speaking when he presented his credentials, Germany Ambassador Finke disclosed that a group of German businessmen is expected to visit Zambia soon to explore investment opportunities.

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