‘Let’s continue talking about Sata’s nepotism and tribalism’

Editor,

If something causes turmoil in your stomach likely your entire mind will be pre-occupied with the problem in your tummy, you will have to deal with it until the turmoil goes. When you get a mosquito bite, you will always scratch your skin until you smother the itch; it is not anyone’s choice to tell you not to treat your stomach nor is it the choice of the mosquito to tell you not to scratch your itching skin.

On the other hand if you pinch a friend or any person near you, and then you demand that the poor fellow should not scream or yell as a result of the pain, or that he should not try to react and fight you back, you will be oppressing that individual – if you do not want the fight you better not oppress others.

Oppressed people will normally and very frequently speak out against those who oppress them. If the oppression continues they may decide to take physical action against their oppressors; it is not for those who perpetrate oppression against others and their blind followers to demand that the oppressed shut up or to describe the persistent talk of the oppressed as boring. If you do not want to hear the ‘boring’ complaints of the oppressed, do not oppress others, attend to their complaints positively.

Those of our society in Zambia who have for years lived to face the brunt of tribal stigmatization and marginalization are likely to stand up to speak and speak all the time; it is not for those who perpetrate this retrogressive tribal stigmatization and marginalization against others, or their bootlickers, to demand that those who feel tribally stigmatized and marginalized should shut up – message to them is, if they do not want the fight they better not start the fight at all, you better not oppress others.

Away from the omnipotent supernatural, Life on earth is controlled by the material conditions that support life more than anything else we can think of. Dogs from the same pack and family are more likely to fight when the food in their dish is too little for them but will eat quietly if the food in the same dish is vividly sufficient for them all. The difference between them fighting when eating and them eating peacefully as a family is the availability of food – a material condition of life. Yet humans are larger than dogs and will not only see that the food in the dish is insufficiently given but will also see that it is unevenly distributed in favour of others in the same family!

And for the case of Zambia the unequal distribution of this ‘food’ is based on tribal lines! (More top government jobs to one tribe meaning more influence on government decisions by that one tribe meaning in turn more access to the national cake by that tribe and their region, meaning segregation, oppression, stigmatization and marginalization and looking down upon the rest by that tribe!). What other bad conditions of life should make the oppressed section of the Zambian population speak and speak all the time against oppression if not these, that is if speaking is all they can do?

The people of Zambia are saying no to this, and no one should tell them to shut up or scare them of unknown consequences; and media outlets that help the people air their views on such issues must not be threatened with closure – it is all as simple as, if you do not want the fight you better not oppress others, you better not start it at all.

It is true that the PF is showing determination towards fighting corruption which is a necessary step in working to develop a nation. Fighting corruption is a correct variable in our development equation. But the problem with this same PF government is putting a wrong variable of tribalism in this equation at the same time thus literally moving backwards on the Number Line – you get back to zero! The net effect is zero!  We can logically deduce from this that if Zambia will ever be a developed nation sometime in the future, the process towards that end has not yet started! Or it has broken down under the PF rule! Unless the PF change their style, the people of Zambia have no choice but to look to another government in future to set the country back on course. For 20 years the MMD government was out of line; now the new PF government is moving one step forward and two steps backward! When then shall we have a government that will set us firmly on the road to prosperity?

I do not believe that the PF government is a government of small men and women, those who do not understand the retrogressive effects of tribalism and unequal distribution of wealth among its citizens. But to accept that a government in place is working to develop the country when it is hugely playing tribalism and unequal distribution of wealth is to miss a cardinal point in analyzing our situation just as Michael and his PF have missed the point in governing the country, they have missed the route towards development.   Rather it is more plausible to believe that the PF team has different reasons for forming government in the first place other than national development! Otherwise Michael must be so obsessed with Bemba Supremacy among the rest of the Zambian tribes that he has consciously decided to forego developing the country but make Bemba’s a supreme tribe in Zambia for centuries to come if not forever.

In history we are told that over a period of time before World War I broke out  in 1914 there had existed in Germany and Europe conditions for a full scale international war, but the war never began until some incident known as ‘Murder at Sarajevo’ ignited it! In Zambia today there has been for a long time now conditions for a full scale tribal conflict; it remains to be seen whether Michael’s ascension to power and his shameless installation of Bemba dominance in his government is only a part of the conditions awaiting the spark on tribal conflict in Zambia or it is the spark itself.

Again when Hitler decided to lead Germany on a war path in 1939, a particular set of circumstances both in his personal life and that of his country Germany preceded his now historic war decision – but logically, Hitler cannot be condemned alone for the results of his barbaric decision that year but even more so those who brought about the terrible circumstances which bred his largely reactionary mindset which in turn led to the making of his war alternative. In addition there were also those who were in position to help prevent the situation from degenerating into war; they are also equally to blame.

In playing tribalism today Michael and his PF must understand that they are to the present Zambia what those who made Hitler become what he became and do what he did prior to World War II were to the Germany of that time. Michael and his PF are to blame heavily for the current conducive atmosphere for a fully fledged tribal conflict in Zambia.

And those who are in position to play a role to prevent any such conflict before it assumes dangerous proportions need to do so now and not later. In Germany under Hitler this group can be said to have failed in their role, or perhaps they did not play it at all – a serious omission on their part if so – but then that is a lesson to us. History takes place so that we learn from it.

It is not a joke that at present the people of Barotseland aren’t ‘feeling’ ok; the people of N/W aren’t ‘feeling’ ok; for the people of SP it is worse and it is for years now. Presently they are resisting the transfer of one Bemba tribalist Miles Sampa to the province as Provincial Minister! To make matters worse, it is now not just the Tonga’s but everyone who is non-Bemba or non-Bemba cousin who is openly affected. This is a direct result of not having taken action over the years. And the president is getting heavily involved albeit negatively – he is threatening media freedoms! He has threatened chiefs in N/WP and is giving hard language to reactionaries in WP! He is likely to impose Miles Sampa against the people’s will in SP.

It is also a fact and it is not joke that among Zambia’s most prominent politicians who have died under very suspicious (political) circumstances since independence the highest number is that of those from the Southern/western region of Zambia (former Barotseland)!

If the above are not conditions for a fully fledged tribal conflict in Zambia then what are they? If they are not, why does it take the president to react to these happenings in these provinces? A fully fledged tribal conflict in Zambia may not have come by, but to an alert nation and a nation that is aware of the importance of peace and the unity of the citizens as a factor of development this window just before the worst happens is the window for preventive action.

And so we may ask many difficult questions: where are the usual champions of peace and justice in Zambia – the NGO’s, the Church, the media, etc (especially) those who supported the PF to get in government. Where are those who skewed the thinking of the electorate into believing that to avoid voting for Hakainde was to avoid tribalism? The PF must be their baby and so they can help it grow with good manners, with good leadership qualities; they are parents to the PF – why are they quiet over this issue of tribalism? Could it be a non-issue to them after all? If so why? Could it be they believe they are not victims, that they are not affected? Or maybe they themselves need awareness campaigns to open their eyes on the far reaching evils of tribalism? Could it be they also play the game of tribalism and are birds of the same feathers with the PF? Could they be benefiting somehow under the tribalism played at state house and they are ready to sacrifice the rest of the affected Zambians? Could it be that what is Bemba is what is Zambian?  Or is it the lack of framework how to fight the vice? Who then is to put up this framework?

What about our Chiefs especially those of Luapula and Northern Provinces, of the northern region where Michael hails from, aren’t they the ones to ‘sit down’ their son and counsel him? What about the numerous Bemba’s in general, is there no one among their numbers who believes in the peaceful co-existence of all tribes in the country, one who sees red with what Michael is doing at state house? Michael might be your brother by tribe but condoning what he is doing today is to covertly accept that when next time a Lozi president or a Lunda one, a luvale president or a Kaonde, etc, or indeed one like Hakainde Hichilema a Tonga, should also do the same when their time to rule comes as it is sure to come – favoring their tribesmen and women in governance!

Michael and his PF must be stopped in their tracks before it is too late.  And stopping them is all so easy! Bemba tribalism will badly weaken the PF politically. For the affected majority the slogan for 2016 is, ‘IF YOU VOTE FOR SATA ONLY BEMBA’S WILL BE IN GOVERNMENT!!! And against this slogan the PF’s ‘Donchi kubeeba’ cannot stand! The deception will be torn apart; the public need only be alert because these offshoots of the corrupt MMD government can easily resort the NIKUV register and the UPG ballot printing!

Our current rullers need to reflect heavily on this issue – complaints of the people they rule should not be treated as the food they eat to live. Michael and his government will continue to exist and even with greater honor even if tribalism was completely eradicated from their ruling structures. Threatening those who complain will not work, it will not do. If you do not want the fight simply do not oppress others, do not start the fight at all, listen and attend to the complaints positively.

 Tobias Hatembo

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