I am going to take with a pinch of salt Mr. Austin Mbozi’s article “Muchinga Province: Budget Money Starts Going to North” published by the Zambian Watchdog.
The article, among other things, argues against the Bemba dominance which the author perceives in the PF government’s decision to create Muchinga Province.
As a Bemba, I take offence with Mr. Mbozi’s premises which have a capability of fuelling anti-Bemba sentiments and discrimination against the peoples of Northern Province.
Mr. Mbozi begins his article on a premise that he has fought the Tonga, Lozi and Bemba dominances before. What does he mean by dominance? Apparently, the word ‘dominance’ has a connotation of superiority over another. This may be positive or negative. By fighting it, I take it that Mr. Mbozi implies fighting ‘dominance’ in its negative sense.
What negative dominance have Tongas, Lozis and Bembas had in the past which Mr. Mbozi has fought? He gives two issues for the Lozis and the Tonga: the Barotseland Agreement and the Mazoka succession which he says he warned against and that nobody cared to listen then.
Do we see the issue of dominance of Tongas and Lozis in this? Aren’t these individual isolated cases that have nothing to do with either Lozis collectively or Tongas collectively? If today the Linyungandambo is asking for a reconsideration of the Barotseland Agreement, isn’t it fallacious to think that all the Lozis are for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement? What about the Barotse Royal Establishment which has rejected the path being taken by the Linyungandambo? Isn’t the BRE Lozi? Again, did late Mazoka’s succession have anything to do with the Tongas as a whole? I believe many Tongas are not sympathizers of UPND and UPND does not stand on the same par with the Tonga tribe.
There are so many Tongas in MMD, PF and other political parties. Or is he insinuating that one is only Tonga when he or she belongs to UPND? What is Mr. Mbozi really talking about?
It is understandable, then, that if Mr. Mbozi builds his premises on fallacies, his arguments have failed a test of logic. Or Mr. Mbozi has other agenda which he knows cannot stand on its own but needs fallacies to support it.
Anyway, from the said premises, Mr. Mbozi argues that he has proved himself consistent because he forewarned of tribal rivalries among Zambians should they vote for Sata.
This suggests that voting for Sata pits Bembas against other tribes hence the rivalry. Again, this argument is fallacious for two simple reasons: Sata was not elected by Bembas only. In fact, he received more votes from Copperbelt and Lusaka provinces which have mixed population.
Secondly, unless Mr. Mbozi has his own reasons, is there really any reason for the tribal rivalries? If there were no tribal rivalries during the reigns of Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa and Banda, why now with Sata?
I do not have any problem with Mr. Mbozi’s arguments against the creation of the Muchinga Province. The PF government has its own reasons for creating a new province and Mr. Mbozi, like any other citizen, is free to criticize that. But what’s the connection with the Bemba dominance? How do Sata’s policies for the new province impact on the Bemba tribe as a whole when a good number of them aren’t even staying in the Northern Province? (Arguably, there are even more Bembas staying in other provinces than in the Northern Province). And don’t non-Bemba tribes exist in the Northern Province too? How does Mr. Mbozi account for the Bemba-dominance considering all these situations?
Dragging the issue of the Bemba-dominance into an altogether different issue stinks of ill-motives. It serves no purpose but to ostracize the Bembas who deserve to be treated like other Zambian tribes.
This kind of tribalism, unfortunately, only breeds discontent and will not bring development which Zambia desperately needs. It has no place in the 21st Century!