By Austin Mbozi
Never bother about Kennedy Sakeni’s toothless threats! President Michael Chilufya Sata must be opposed at all costs in his taking Chirundu district to Lusaka Province and Itezhi Tezhi district to Central Province.
Losses to Southern Province
Firstly, Southern Province will have no power over the economic benefits of hydro-power stations once Sata decentralizes the provincial powers. Recall that during campaigns, Sata said the Barotseland Agreement would be Zambia’s model of decentralization countrywide? Barotseland Agreement is about decentralization at provincial and not district level; much like South Africa with elected provincial ministers/premiers/governors. If this happens, Sata would shiver at the mere thought that UPND and Hakainde would control these installations!
Secondly, politically the likes of PF Lusaka Youth Chairman Erick Chanda and the Central Province PF Provincial Chairman Benson Chali’s PF party authority will now extend to Chirundu and Itezhi Tezhi rather than to local Tonga PF members! Soon, to be councilor in Chirundu or Itezhi Tezhi, one will be jostling for a PF rather than an UPND ticket.
Thirdly, Southern Province chiefs and their headmen will be cut off from being identified with fellow chiefs in Southern Province! If cultural pride is not important for Sata, then why did he create that Ministry of Chiefs for?
Fourth. Sata’s actions may destroy the Tonga sense of unity and pride. Looking back at Sata’s past statements and behavior towards the Bantu-Botatwe ( Tonga, Ila and Lenge tribes) one concludes that he just wants to satisfy his xenophobia against them, by daring their pride and show them that whether they like it or not he is in charge of them. But this will backfire because they are likely to unite further against him.
Firstly, his argument of ‘making delivery of government services efficient’ is totally fake. Chilufya made Choma the capital of Southern Province. It is now even far shorter to move from Itezhi Tezhi to Choma than to move from Itezhi Tezhi to Kabwe, the capital of Central Province! The distance from Itezhi Tezhi to Mumbwa is around 120 Km, then one has to come to Lusaka (130 km) and connect to Kabwe ( Lusaka- Kabwe is about 125km). Thus the total distance from Itezhi Tezhi is around 400 km! What is all needed is to improve the condition of the road from Choma to Itezhi Tezhi.
And if the issue was about distance, why get Chirundu district and not PF’s newly formed Chikankata district (whose creation was not even necessary) or Mazabuka district which is nearer to Lusaka?
Secondly, Chilufya’s bootlickers are arguing that because Chilufya is an elected President he has authority to divide and subdivide provincial and district boundaries at will without consultation or going through the Delimitation Commission! There is absolutely nothing special about Sata being elected president.
Even the most brutal demagogue, Adolf Hitler was elected. In fact Hitler was elected by more majorities than Sata who got only 43% of the votes ( which closely tallies with his tribal grouping which is between 38% and 43%), while 57% of voters rejected him. The Post Newspaper correctly used to say that ‘Zambia does not belong to Mwanawasa’s mother or father.
It belongs to the people of Zambia.’ We can say the same with Chilufya. Zambia does not belong to Chilufya’s mother or father (it does not even belong to his bootlickers either). It belongs to the people of Zambia. He cannot just be waking up and create and recreate regions and ministries using our tax payer’s money. Kaunda consulted before making Lusaka a Province in 1976! And if Sata’s booklickers agree that Kaunda was right in ‘cutting, off Lusaka from Central Province , what logic does it make then to again enlarge Lusaka Province which is too populated and complicated to manage by adding Chirundu district to it? Besides Central Province (94,395 sq km ) is already larger than Southern Province ( 85 sq km). But foolishly, the PF cuts Itezhi Tezhi district to add to a larger province. Now Central Province will be far larger (over 110 sq km) than the Northern Province which they have cut to make it smaller!
Thirdly, the argument that Zambia is a unitary state and as such no tribe should take pride that some national facilities like hydro-power stations are in their province is simplistic. There is nothing wrong for a people, as part of cultural pride, to take pride that their traditional homelands is also contributing to national development. What would be wrong is if they prevent other tribes from joining to settle among them, or to refuse to share provincial resources with the rest of the country. Yet after Lusaka and Copperbelt Province, Southern Province has the largest proportion of non-local tribes among them. Southerners in fact are so accommodating they accept use of Nyanja, Bemba and Lozi languages within ther more area than their language is accepted elsewhere!
Fourth, they argue that since Zambians are not restricted in movement there is no need for any ethnic grouping to claim ‘ownership’ of a province. Then why are the same Sata booklickers not arguing that there is no need for the creation of Muchinga Province since Muchinga residents are free to migrate to more economically viable Lusaka, Coppebelt or Southern provinces? Can any rational being expect people from Southern Province to migrate to Muchinga where resources are now channeled? And if where resources are channeled does not matter why did it matter for Chilufya to take the Kaunda University in Chinsali and not here in Lusaka? It matters where key financial institutions are and which province they report to. Even though ZRA revenues from Chirundu goes to Central Government, the council revenues that were increasing out of local business activity will now be PF-controlled from Lusaka.
This is total tribalism! Northern Province has been subdivided so that it gets a double share of national resources. Sata did not cut off part off a part of Northern Province to bring it under Chipata rule! Worse, in his regions he has put local provincial ministers: Freedom Sikazwe for Northern and Davies Mwila for Luapula. In the new Muchinga, he has put a local Namwanga, Sichone. But in Southern Province he has put a Bemba, Miles Sampa . In Lusaka Province where he is taking Chirundu District he has put a Bemba Gerry Chanda, to preside over them. In Central Province Provincial Minister, Philip Kosamu will now watch over Itezhi Tezhi. Worse while we are told that we can travel anywhere in search of opportunity the new Muchinga Province Provincial Minister Sichone said only ‘local’ people (mainly Bemba and Namwanga) will be recruited to work at the provincial capital. This is outright tribalism. To start with Sichone announced that he has created over 430 brand new government jobs for Muchinga. Only Sata’s region got new jobs. What if every other provincial capital today were to chase those from Muchinga and recruit only ‘locals?’? So the meaning is that Muchinga locals must restrict the Government jobs to themselves, the rest must go to other regions and take up jobs of local people there?
Sata’s bootlickers are lying by arguing that Northern Province needed subdividing because it was too large to govern. Why can’t they argue the same for Western and Northwestern Provinces? Northern Province was 147,826 square kilometers. Western Province is 126, 386 square kilometers. North-western is 125,827 square kilometers. So Northern Province only had 21,440 square kilometers more than Western Province and 21,999 more than North Western. This little excess was already catered for because Northern Province had additional districts; 12 compared to 7 for Western! But after cutting it and creating Muchinga, the average size of the Muchinga and the remaining Northern is now 73, 913 square km. This makes them far smaller than Northwestern 125,827 sq km, Western 126,386 sq km.
Now since Northwestern and Western are the largest ones, why is Sata ignoring Chief Mumena of the Kaonde people where he is calling for a 11th province (The Daily Nation Newspaper 11th February 2012 and Sunday Times 5th February 2012 ) because Northwestern province is too large? And what about those calling for the Kafue Province after this liar President promised to fulfill the Barotseland Agreement?
Sata background against Tongas
Nigerian academic Dr Julius Ihonvbere wrote in his 1996 book (page181) that when the National Party was formed, of which an Ila, Baldwin Mwanaakumabu Nkumbula was part, on 10th September 1993 ‘Labour Minister Micheal Sata persistently attacked’ it, saying it was backed by the Bantu Botatwe Ngoma ya Maanu Cultural Association. This was soon after Enos Haimbe’s Democratic National Congress ( DNC) had failed to make an impact as a successor to Harry Nkumbula’s ANC and especially that at the time, even MMD’s Southern Province Chairman Frederick Hapunda was bitterly complaining that the MMD Government had neglected the Southerners. Thus, not surprisingly, when Anderson Mazoka tried to aspire for the MMD Presidency, Sata frustrated him out of the party.
On Friday April 5, 2002, Sata argued in the Post Newspaper column that Mwanawasa was not grateful to Bemba speaking peoples by not giving them jobs after they voted for him and that he was ‘making the people of Zambia realize that without the three provinces thus; Copperbelt, Luapula and Northern provinces, His Excellency, President Mwanawasa would not have occupied State House..’ He then argued that there was so much anti-Bemba sentiment that ‘when we had a false start that Anderson Mazoka was winning, Bemba speaking people in several government Ministries were threatened by their (UPND) colleagues that this is the end of them’.
On Tuesday, April 6, 2004, Sata’s Post Newspaper letter to the editor read; ‘Shansonga Drama’.Sata accused Mwanawasa of arresting only Bemba suspected plunderers while equally helping his fellow Bantu Botatwe(Tonga’s, Ilas and Lenjes) suspects to escape justice and that Mwanawasa even appointed a Tonga ‘who is not even a lawyer’ Mark Chona to head an ‘illegal task force’ (to fight Bembas). …. ’I further said it was within the same grand plan (of releasing Bantu Botatwe tribesmen) by Mr. Mwanawasa in which the state entered anolle prosequi in the case of Mr David Diangamo (an Ila plunder accused at the time) and compensated him with the second highest civil service job as deputy secretary to the Cabinet… Mr Shansonga (an Bantu Botatwe plunderer suspect) did not flee the country or jump bail, he was facilitated by government on Mr Mwanawasa’s orders. The Office of the President (OP) escorted Mr Shansonga to Livingstone and Victoria Falls. He crossed the border with an OP pass making it difficult to find any entry in the immigration books at the Zambian and Zimbabwean borders.’
During the 2006 elections Sata said the battle was between his PF Bembas and Mwanawasa’s Bantu Botatwe. Recently, his own close minister Chishimba Kambwili said he was not surprised that The Post Newspaper reporter who wrote that was fired because of being rude was a Tonga, ‘because Tongas hate Bembas’. Sata and Kambili are still together.
Sata fuelled the Miles Sampa current Bemba-Tonga row!
Miles Sampa clearly insulted the Tonga people by implying that they needed Bemba blood in them to get the Presidency. Tongas verbally protested. But Sata, seemingly agreeing with this, transferred Sampa as provincial minister to the Tonga-dominated region. It’s was like Sata saying: ‘Miles. Go there and let them dare you. I will fix them.’ What Sata did was an act of provocation! Can the Germany Government send a neo-Nazi as ambassador to Isreali and expect him to survive? Let’s unite to out-vote Sata!
The bible says those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Sata used Bemba-tribal sentiments to become president. Let us use this same tribal ‘sword’ to de-campaign him. Let our lovely Bemba brothers and sisters join in denouncing Sata to stop dividing us. Apart from his Bemba friends he appointed, you are suffering with us. May the politicians hold huge rallies, produce thousands of leaflets and denounce Sata’s tribalism.
It is not the Bemba tribe we are against but Sata’s tribalism. I can personally wish a Bemba like Alexander Chikwanda as my President, not Sata.