Human Resource council says Western province issue threatens peace

STATEMENT BY THE ZAMBIA INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ON THE MEDIA REPORTS ABOUT THE SITUATION IN WESTERN PROVINCE – 11 JANUARY, 2011

We, the Council and members of the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management are concerned and disturbed by media reports about the situation in Western Province concerning actions that border on tribalism and are a threat to the peace that we have enjoyed as a country for many years.  As a professional body that is responsible for promoting professionalism and productivity we are concerned about the intensity of the situation and fear that if the issue of the Barotse Agreement is not handled properly a lot of innocent individuals will suffer as the situation may degenerate into chaos.  Our concern as a professional body is based on the fact that Western Province does not only have Lozi, Luvale, Nyengo, Nkoya and Mbunda speaking professionals but professionals who are Zambian and hail from different parts of the country and different parts of the world. 

It is these professionals who when they unite their efforts contribute to raising the living standards of the people in Western Province.  Some of these professionals are members of our institute while others are Engineers, Surveyors, Accountants, Teachers, medical personnel and others. Some of them have been in the province for so long that they now call it their home.  Some of the people who do not speak any of the languages of the province are married to spouses from Western Province.  We therefore find it very odd that those who do not hail from the province are being given an ultimatum to leave the province.  The question is; what happens to those Zambians who have intermarried and now have relatives among the people of Western Province.  Such actions and utterances must be condemned in the strongest terms and the initiators or such retrogressive acts traced and counselled.

With regard to music that is not in a Western Province language being banned in the province that is also retrogressive and takes away the achievements made by government in trying to build a united Zambia.Lozi musicians such as Ty2 and Petersen have sang great sons in Nyanja and Bemba, should we not proudly listen to such songs?  What will happen if all traditional authorities in other provinces decided to expel the Lozi’s from their provinces and stopped playing music that has been sang in Western Province languages?

We are aware that several talks have been held at different levels by government representatives and representatives of the Barotse Royal Establishment but the situation calls for more concern and decisive action.  There is need to disseminate information on the contentious issues in the Barotse Agreement and let the general public and all those concerned be given relevant information.  The people living in Western Province may be fully conversant with what is contained in the Barotse Agreement but the people in the rest of Zambia may not be conversant.

It is also possible that even some of the people instigating others may not be fully conversant with the agreement and are being swayed by mob psychology.

We appeal to the government of the day, to address this issue conclusively so that the situation in Western Province can return to normal.  As things stand there is loss of productivity on days when there are meetings, demonstrations and disturbances and ordinarily the morale of most employees has been affected as they are not guaranteed of complete peace.  The situation may also have an effect on interpersonal relations between people from Western Province and the others and ultimately negatively affect the achievement of corporate objectives for any organisation.  On top of all that, people from Western Province have for a long time bemoaned the absence of major developmental projects in the province and development cannot be done by Western Province people on their own.  What is happening now will just serve to scare away skilled professionals and also scare away investors.  We live in a culturally diverse world and the people of Western Province should promote unity in diversity.

Namucana C Musiwa

President

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