The Law Association of Zambia has condemned tribal remarks issued by chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili and finance minister Alexander Chikwanda.
LAZ president George Chisanga yesterday stated that the remarks issued by Kambwili and Chikwanda were misplaced and extremely unfortunate.
“The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) strongly condemns the recent tribal remarks attributed to two Cabinet Ministers, firstly by the Minister of Finance Mr. Alexander Chikwanda encouraging the people of Chipata to vote for their tribesmen in the forthcoming Presidential and General Elections and secondly by the Minister of Information, Mr. Chishimba Kambwili, disparaging voters in the Southern Province on the basis that they are unlikely to vote for the ruling party in the upcoming general elections due to their tribal inclination. These remarks, coming as they did, from very senior Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament, are not only misplaced but they are extremely unfortunate in a country that is democratic and which is home to numerous tribal groupings forming one sovereign unitary state,” Chisanga stated.
He reminded the two cabinet ministers of Article 23 in the Bill of Rights of the current constitution which protected all Zambians from discrimination.
“LAZ wishes to remind the nation that Article 23 in the Bill of Rights of the current Constitution protects all Zambian citizens from discrimination on the basis of tribe. Furthermore the preamble of the newly enacted Constitution of Zambia Amendment Act No.2 of 2016, which the two Honourable Ministers were instrumental in enacting, recognises the equality of citizens,” Chisanga added.
He urged all government stakeholders to eschew all manner of ill talk and hate speech which were indicative of tribalism.
“On numerous occasions LAZ has advised all stakeholders in the governance of our beloved nation, to eschew all manner of ill talk and hate speech, which are indicative of tribalism, on the ground that tribalism has no place in the political discourse of this country. The rights and dignity of all Zambian citizens must be maintained and respected, particularly by the government whose functionaries and officials are sworn to the constitutional duty of protecting all citizens of the Republic regardless of their political persuasion or tribal origins,” Chisanga said.
“Tribalism can only sow seeds of hatred and violence that are at odds not only with the Christian ethos of the country but also with the need to recognize basic human dignity. LAZ finds itself duty bound to offer a timely reminder, not only to the two ministers responsible for these unfortunate remarks, but also to all Zambians.”
He further warned politicians to desist from championing any agenda based on region or tribe.
“Our reminder is also to all political players that as we head towards the tripartite elections we should at all times desist from championing any agenda based on region or tribe. If indeed the government is serious about constitutionalism, the rule of law and the respect for human rights and human dignity, then all its leaders must be seen to act accordingly for the benefit of all Zambians. We urge the ruling Patriotic Front government to desist from making divisive tribal remarks, and indeed to be patriotic, by leading the way in averting ethnic tensions that are beginning to show in our country that is known as a beacon of peace in the whole of Africa,” said Chisanga.