CiSCA condemns tribal sentiments from PF officials, challenges President Lungu to act decisively
Lusaka, 08 September 2020: The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CISCA) has noted, with great concern, the continued tribal sentiments attributed to senior members of the Patriotic Front (PF).
Considering that these sentiments have been expressed openly and publicly without any censure or rebuke from both party and government leadership, we have no doubt that those spewing such vitriol are sanctioned by the PF leadership, with the full blessings of the Republican President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
CiSCA calls on President Lungu to prove us wrong and categorically, unequivocally denounce his senior leaders for their tribal utterances and accordingly sanction them to deter others from this vice. We doubt he will. If he is unsure how to do this, we encourage President Lungu to seek counsel from our former first President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda who worked hard to erase the tribal lines which Lungu and his cronies are shamelessly working hard to bring back.
The PF presently holds the dubious record as the most divisive party this country has had since independence. The Zambian people have worked hard over the years to live up to the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ motto as manifested in the integration across tribes. Any utterances that promote tribalism go against the national values espoused in Article 8(d) of the Constitution, and undermines the national unity and harmony as contained in Article 43(d).
The PF has failed to live up to their campaign rhetoric of improving the lives of the millions of Zambians living in poverty and have resorted to divisive, tribal tactics to try and hang on to power.
We note that the tribal attacks are perpetuated mainly by a few misguided individuals from one ethnic group, the Bemba. Sadly, the traditional leaders have remained mute suggesting that they too agree with this misrepresentation of the many Bemba speaking people who are not vile tribalists like the few PF leaders.
This week, President Lungu will be speaking in Parliament and will probably re-echo the rhetoric on national unity, while he is doing nothing about his party’s agenda of polarization of this country on tribal lines.
The President must demonstrate leadership by condemning the utterances of his senior party members and removing these members from positions they hold.
We have little faith in the Secretary General of the Party in dealing with this. President Lungu must prove that he is intolerant of tribalism as it is under his watch that we have seen an upsurge of tribal divisions and he needs to deal with this convincingly and decisively. Zambians will not take kindly to his usual glossing over of important national issues and continued politicking for the sake of staying in power.
CiSCA is also disappointed by the ineptitude of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in decisively dealing with the continued use of tribal remarks during election campaigns. The Commission puts the country at risk by their continued failure to deal with such behavior which has now become a permanent feature of the Patriotic Front campaigns.
We know that had the utterances attributed to Chanda Nyela in a recent video been made by any other tribe or opposition leader, the Home Affairs Minister would have already swung into action. Expecting any action from him is pointless and so we will simply point out his ineptitude in this regard for posterity’s sake so that Zambians can see for themselves the kind of leaders they have. Nyela, in his recent utterances, confirms something we have always suspected: that the ‘other tribes’ can never be considered for leadership. The singling out of only specific individuals from these tribes is merely a rouge to mask their deep-rooted tribalism that sees other tribes as not worthy of holding leadership roles in the country.
If the PF cannot preside over a united country and can only survive in a toxic, divided environment, we remind them that Zambians are above this and deserve better from those in leadership or those aspiring for leadership. and must say no emphatically to such misrule.
CiSCA Vice Chairperson