When a former President of the United States (or any country, for that matter) comes to your country to invest millions of dollars into a women’s healthcare clinic, generally, no matter what you may think of him, you are polite enough to be gracious and statesmenlike.
Instead, that wasn’t the treatment received by George W. Bush, who spent his July 4th holiday in Zambia on a charity mission. During a concluding press conference at State House, President Michael Sata viciously insulted him as a “colonialist” who had come back to Zambia repay his debts from all the riches he had stolen from Africa.
“The most interesting thing, previously there used to be four great countries: United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia and France. And you have all drifted away; you have abandoned Africa after taking all our raw commodities, our raw materials and build your cities,” President Sata said during his public attack against Bush at State House. ”I mean, as far as you are concerned Africa doesn’t exist. And when we have a former colonialist like you coming back to pay back what you took out of this country we are grateful.”
The impromptu attack did not sit well with President Bush, who quickly interjected and told Sata that he was wrong to brand America as such when it actually also fought colonialism itself exactly 236 years ago, and furthermore has never held any colonial territory in Africa. President Bush interrupted President Sata to say that America had never been a colonialist, but freed itself from colonialism just like Zambia.
“Mr. President, I don’t want to be argumentative, but America was never a colonial nation. We broke free like you broke free from those who wanted to colonise us,” he said. ”France might have been a colonial nation, Britain might have been a colonial nation, but not the United States of America,” Bush said, prompting laughter from the audience.
President Sata however insisted that America was a colonialist state because it had financial influence.
“The United States has money,” Sata said. ”When they had money, the big colonisers depended on American money. The Americans did not physically colonise us, but at the same time, the Americans still have scars of slavery. And if you have the scars of slavery whether you colonised or you didn’t colonise us you still have those scars.”
It is not the first time Mr Sata has bemoaned the waning role of the West in Africa. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph earlier this year, he said he was keen for his country’s former colonial master Britain to increase its influence to counterbalance a now heavy Chinese presence against which he campaigned so fiercely in previous elections. “Better the devil you know than one you don’t,” he added.
The Bushes were 15 minutes late to State House, having driven 90 miles from the northern city of Kabwe, where they had opened a health clinic refurbished with their money which will offer cervical and breast cancer screening to locals.
As he awaited Mr Bush’s arrival, Mr Sata complained to Priscilla Hernandez, the United States public affairs officer, that he did not like being kept waiting.
“Bush is former president; he is not the current president of the United States so I cannot be waiting for him,” he said.
“The young man is lucky that he is the first American leader to have brought money to Africa through his Millennium Challenge Account; that’s why I’m standing here. Otherwise if it was somebody else, I would have handed him over to one of my ministers to meet him.”
United States Embassy in Lusaka is compiling a report on the humiliation of their former president George W. Bush by Zambian president Michael Sata, the Watchdog has been informed.
And the Watchdog understands that Sata’s sudden attack on Bush could be linked to a visit by a Zimbabwean minister at State House the day before Sata attacked Bush. (…)
The embassy is said to be compiling a report for submission to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Other information received by the Watchdog indicate that Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe sent one of his ministers to meet Sata on Tuesday or Wednesday morning just before Bush was scheduled to meet Sata.
The name of the minister is not yet known and what they discussed is not yet known except that the Zimbabwean minister delivered a message.
When George W. Bush visited Zambian in December 2011, President Michael sata made an impromptu visit to the border town of Livingstone where he met with Robert Mugabe.
That time Sata denied that his suddent meeting with Mugabe had anything to do with Bush’s visit.