Let’s say ‘no’ to Sata’s demon of tribalism

By Given Mutinta

By Given Mutinta

President Michael Sata’s naked tribalism has created the ugliest period in Zambian politics since independence. That is what happens when leaders think with their tribe. Sata is the problem to begin with because he is playing naked tribalism. By flooding key public service positions with people from his tribe he is deliberately fuelling the ‘Bemba hegemony’. If this ‘melanoma’ is not addressed it will bring about the ‘Bembanisation’ of our society the ammo Sata needs to justify his naked tribalism that is hard for any sane person to defend.

In a country of about 72 tribes, more than 68% of the cabinet ministers are from Sata’s tribe. More than 76% of deputy ministers are from his tribe. Seventy eight percent of those in the ambassadorial service are his relatives, clansmen and women. As if not enough to demean and revile other tribes the government controlled media houses, the defence and security wings are headed by people from his region.

This ‘Bemba hegemony’ explains clearly why Lusaka Province Minister Miles Sampa blatantly toldTongasthat they should intermarry with Bembas in order to produce a ‘TongaPresident’. Sampa has apologised but that does not extirpate this spectre by retracting it because tribalism is both a powerful and malevolent weapon that influences people’s thoughts and actions. It is heart-rending that such an abhorrent remark was made by a national leader, a person who is supposed to be a top name in the fight against tribalism. You see, this is how dangerous tribalism is that it makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly dim-witted things. Whether one decides to inter his or her head in the sand on issues related to tribalism the incontrovertible fact is that there are many clear signs of the looming danger of Sata’s naked tribalism.

For sure there was tribalism under the leadership of the major figures in Zambian politics. Kenneth Kaunda, Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa and Rupiya Banda also practiced tribalism somehow or other. Nonetheless, it was apparent to many people that Chiluba was well above tribalism. He was a ‘detribalised’ Zambian who treated all people, Bemba orTongaor Lozi as equal. This explains why tribalism under FTJ’s headship was not a sizzling issue.

It is however stomach-turning to see the level of tribalism that is going on in our country. Sata is playing naked tribalism at the highest level and has succeeded to ensure that every sector of the Zambian society is now punctured with tribalism. His tribesmen and women have assumed the dominant and critical positions in the development processes of our country.  A handful positions where the top positions are not occupied by Sata’s tribe, the second in charge is from his tribe. It is reasonably clear that Sata is preparing his tribesmen and women to be in charge of the entire public service. Surely, with the ‘Bemba leadership’ running our government what does one need to see so as to accept as true that Sata is a tribalist to the bone marrow?

One of the numerous cases of Sata’s naked tribalism that people will remain blistering over is the appointment of Dr. Martin Malama his nephew as General Inspector of police. It is arduous to imagine any justification why Sata would leave all the experienced police officers and appoint someone who barely has any police experience to such a critical position. The plain answer is that his most important qualification is that Dr. Malama is Sata’s nephew.

It therefore stands to reason that in Sata’s regime, merit or knowledge and experience people have do not matter, but being from his tribe and most of all a relative is the main necessary qualification for anyone to have the possibility of being appointed to a higher-ranking position. For sure there is a premeditated ploy by Sata to ensure that people from his tribe take up most of the key positions in the public service.

It is also apparent that Sata is resolute to serve his region at the expense of other regions and our country. Soon he will createMuchingaProvinceand also build two universities in his region. How can an abstemious person justify this naked tribalism and insult to other regions? Is it not an observable that something is wrong with Sata that many realistic Zambians are now angst-ridden about the looming consequences of his naked tribalism?

If Sata was a visionary leader, he would have seen and heard that many people are against his imposition of the ‘Bemba rule’ on our society. Threatening with treason people who are speaking against tribalism is a strategy devoid of vision becauseZambiais destined to prosperity for all, regardless of ones’ tribe. If Sata does not change his political route many people will soon find his naked tribalism insufferable and as a result they will hold grudges against his tribe that is heftily benefiting from his discordant leadership. However, most of the morally upright people from his tribe are quite in the clear and have completely nothing to do with Sata’ naked tribalism that cannot be cured by any ‘anti-tribalism vaccine’.

It is sad that Sata does not realize that his tribalism can easily result in a tribal discord. As noble citizens let us be realistic and say ‘NO’ to Sata’s demon of tribalism. Is what happened inRwanda,Kenyaand what it is happening inIraqnot enough lessons for leaders to be responsive to all tribes?

There is no one desirous for ethnic clashes in our country that has been bathing in many years of peace and this is the legacy we should all nurture no matter what it takes. What we are saying is that Sata needs to be above tribal ties in his ‘presidential conduct’ so as to dissuade people from getting disconcerted about his naked tribalism in favour of people from his tribe.

When people are perturbed anything is possible. Countrymen and women, before the demon of tribalism destabilizes our society let us exercise our human right to defy tribalism in all its ugly forms the same way the demon of racism in may parts of the world has been resisted and put to an endless rest.


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