By Lucky Mulusa, MP.
(Wednesday, 18 September 2013)
Media reports concerning the attack on the President of UPND, Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his entourage while on his tour in Kasama undoubtedly makes sad reading. For obvious and clear reasons, I refuse to believe that the attack on HH is an act of tribalism by Bembas.
I therefore, would like to urge all those who wish to comment on this barbaric incidence to be objective, analytical and level headed and to do your best to steer away from issues of tribe and ethnicity (which are not at play here) and tackle the real drivers and reasons behind the escalating political violence in our nation.
Allowing misplaced fanning of tribal and ethnic politics will polarise the nation unnecessarily. Rwanda and Burundi and more recently, Kenya, should be good reminders of what can happen to a nation divided on tribal or ethnic lines.
It is important to point out that certain individuals have been behind incidences of violence in our country. At the core of this issue is lack of understanding of what politics is and what its role in national development is supposed to be. Politics is simply supposed to be used by nations to make collective decisions.
It is important to remind ourselves of historical facts that disqualify the notion that this incidence is an act of Bemba tribalism. If it were, then how come Mazoka was allowed to campaign in Northern and Luapula provinces without any problems? How come Nervous Mumba and Elias Chipimo get blocked from practicing politics in Muchinga and Northern Provinces where they come from? How come Father Bwalya had chibuku poured over him on the Copperbelt?
We must not forget that the same individuals have been the drivers behind the violence in Livingston, Msanzala, Chipata and more recently, Mkaika. If we attach tribe to this issue, we will miss the point. Violence has also occurred in Chawama, Matero (BIGOCA), Mufumbwe and many other places. There also exists the treaded “Mapatizya formula”.
Kaunda did very well to unite us under the theme, “One Zambia, One Nation” to an extent of almost getting rid of the potential risk of this nation to be divided on tribal lines. Identity can be a complicated matter. In Zambia, we have seventy three tribes (or dialects) and according to Sen (2006), “Violence is promoted by the cultivation of a sense of inevitability about some allegedly unique – often – belligerent – identity that we are supposed to have and which apparently makes extensive demands on us”. He concludes that, “The imposition of an allegedly unique identity is often a crucial component of the “martial art” of fomenting sectarian confrontation”.
Sen (2006), warns that “Identity can also kill – and kill with abandon. A strong – and exclusive – sense of belonging to one group can in many cases carry with it the perception of distance and divergence from other groups.” During ethnic cleansing