Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) President Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba has said that the tensions that have been created between the people of Southern Province and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government are completely unnecessary and could have been avoided had President Lungu demonstrated strong leadership and if all the leaders in the PF genuinely towed the much talked about “One Zambia, One Nation” ideology.
Speaking in Luangwa yesterday during meetings with the MMD party structures, Dr. Mumba said the unfortunate remarks attributed to PF Secretary General Davies Chama were shocking, reckless, provocative and totally misplaced and have absolutely no place in a peaceful and united country like Zambia.
Dr. Mumba said President Lungu failed to correctly address this matter by firmly condemning and disciplining Mr. Chama to give the people of Southern Province confidence that the “One Zambia, One Nation” is not just a cosmetic, convenient and empty slogan for political expediency. He said the President missed a golden opportunity to show leadership and create confidence in the people of Southern Province and indeed the nation at large that he is sincere in all the pronouncements he has been making against tribalism since he came into power.
The MMD President further said the tension that has followed in Southern Province, culminating in the Tonga Traditional Establishment going to the extent of calling a “Chuundu Chaitwa” is a very dangerous precedent never experienced in the history of Zambia, not even during the tense Cha Cha Cha days at the height of the ANC and UNIP tensions in the early sixties.
Dr. Mumba expressed his disappointment that President Lungu is now committing himself to unrealistic promises to chiefs which could have been avoided had he immediately and appropriately condemned Mr Chama in no uncertain terms, followed up by disciplinary action. He said it appears the President does not seem to be “walking the talk”.
“We feel that offering Southern Province chiefs to jump-start some stalled development projects promised by the late President Sata, is a clear demonstration of poor and weak leadership and is a pathetic knee-jerk reaction which only further traps the government in a corner of over over-spending even when it is a known fact that it is running a huge deficit.
“President Lungu must begin to assert and demonstrate strong leadership to Zambians to allay the concerns of rising voices that the country is on Auto-Pilot and that he is weak and has no control of the PF hierarchy and the nation at large,” said Dr. Mumba.