Blaming a tribe or family for the wrong doings of one member of that grouping is wrong.
The growing tribal tendencies in Zambia today can be fairly attributed to one person, President Michale Sata and not his family or tribe.
Michael Sata is a tribalist and liar not because he is Bemba or Ila but because it is his individual character.
Sata is not the representative of Bembas so his sickening behaviour toward national unity cannot be blamed on Bembas.
In fact there is no tribe in Zambia that hates another tribe. But there are individuals like Sata who either hate people who do not belong to their tribe or love their tribe so much that nothing else matters. Others can plunge into the Kabompo River as far as Sata is concerned.
To say that Sata hates other tribes is not a wild accusation. He has demonstrated that hatred in the 70 or so days he has been president of Zambia.
He does not need to go on TV or climb a hill to announce his hatred. It can be seen in the way he runs national affairs.
Of the 19 cabinet ministers serving under Sata, 13 are from his tribe.
More than three-quarters of deputy ministers are from Sata’ region. The diplomatic service has been populated by Sata’s relatives and clansmen.
Except for one, all the Commissions of Inquiry he has appointed are led by his tribesmen.
All the government controlled media houses are now led by people from Sata’s region.
All senior staff at State House is from Sata’s tribe.
These things are not done by Bembas as a tribe. They are done by Sata any individual member of the Bemba tribe and Zambian nation.
It is not our beloved Paramount Chief Chitimukulu or any of our chiefs in the North who is doing this. If it was our chiefs who are doing this, then we would have cause to be concerned. But all our chiefs across the country do not segregate people based on their tribe. Anyone person can go and settle anywhere in Zambia today provided he is not a criminal and there is land.
But Sata does not see this. To him, his tribe is the most important thing. We wonder if Sata even knows how many tribes are in Zambia.
Sata should be blamed alone and held accountable for the tribal conflict that may arise during his presidency.
Why should it happen under him when it did not happen under other leaders?
Even Fredrick Chiluba, despite all his weaknesses, knew the importance and variety of our diversity.
He even appointed Enock Kavindele from North-western as his vice president. But look at Sata. Not even one person from that region except Jean Kapata who is related to Sata. Even her she can only be a deputy minister.
The excuse of people from mother regions not voting for him cannot be used as an excuse. When people don’t vote for a particular president, it does not mean that they don’t want to take part in governance. It simply means that they preferred someone else to lead the country. There is a provision in the constitution for the president to nominate 8 MP s and make them ministers. The people who made these provisions had such issues in their minds. But Sata used this to bring more relatives to his government.
He had an opportunity, and most people expected him to appoint Inonge Wina Vice-president or at least defence minister, but because she is not from his tribe, Sata created a useless ministry for her.
And people are watching.
That is why the chiefs in North-western have now come out clear on what they want. Threatening them with force cannot work. Force has never worked in such issues. In fact, it even makes the resolve of such people even stronger. Sata should be ashamed that less than three months in office, he is threatening people with treason and all sorts of violence.
Those people have raised a pertinent and genuine concern. Zambia is for all the people within its borders. Everyone has a right to take part in governance and benefit from serving in public office.
It is easy to point a finger at the opposition. But does the president really believe that the opposition is involved in this? And if the opposition is involved, does that take away the merits of the chiefs’ demands?
It is Sata, not his tribe who said that people of North-western province are only fit to clean toilets.
Now that he is president, he seems to be implementing his thoughts on our brothers that side.
It is Sata not a tribe that lied to the people of Zambia that he will develop Zambia within 90 days. He is remaining with very, very few now.
It is Sata, not his tribe who cheated the people of Western province that he will restore the Barotseland agreement within 90 days.
Now his puppet Roger Chongwe is busy editing the clear submission of the people who cleared said they want separation. He is trying to manipulate the submissions of the people so that he can focus on blaming other which appears to be Sata’s biggest strength.
All these people are done by an individual Sata. So, the Bembas or any other tribe cannot be blamed.
The truth is that some of the people working under Sata are embarrassed by his open tribalism and nepotism. Some of the people Sata has appointed are very qualified and deserve to be in those positions.
But there are disasters like Geoffrey Mwamba (GBM). Apart from being illiterate, GBM’s personal conduct is detestable. This is the man who has been in and out of court for violence which includes beating his wife. And this is the man Sata makes minister of defence? It is true that GBM is not educated. You can check the parliament website where it say find you MP. Go to GBM’s education qualifications. It is blank not because they forgot to put but because there is nothing to put.
Then there are others like Miles Sampa. Sampa went to school but he left the way he went in: empty.
Chishimba Kambwili is not normal.
The thing is, it is not too late for Sata to reverse the whirlwind of tribalism he has set in motion.
This country has been held together by national leaders recognising that we are one nation but different ethnic groupings.
Sata can play around with bank notes and former leaders, but tribalism is dangerous. It is difficult to fight once it becomes entrenched.
Sata should not try to involve or use any of our tribes in his tribalism.
Let him practice it alone.