Muchinga Province: Stop Sata’s breeding of tribalism

By Austin Mbozi

Part  (I)
Please parliamentarians, you must vote against President Sata’s plan to create a new Muchinga province. Reject it even if you come from Northern Province. Sata’s plan will simply sideline you, our great and lovely brothers and sisters from Northern Province, because other regions will think you  are benefiting from President Sata’s Bemba tribal favouritism schemes when you are not the creators of the situation.
And even you ordinary Zambians whose ancestral origins is Northern Province but do not stay
there anymore; you lovely Bembas, Namwamgas or Mambwes- you must oppose Sata’s schemes. What profit will it benefit you apart from you getting a bad tribal tag? Remember you are staying outside Northern Province; you are intermarried or have  relationships with other non-Northern
originated Zambians who love you. Already as President, Sata has made the most tribal appointments in Zambia’s history.  In his usual hypocrisy, he campaigned against Levy Mwanawasa on tribal lines by claiming that Mwanawasa was against Bembas. Mwanawasa replied that Sata was a tribalist whose 90% of MPs (even in Lusaka) were of Bemba speaking origins. Now he has named only Simon Kapwepwe, his fellow Bemba, during his airport renaming spree and left Kapwepwe’s
equal level nationalists like Nalumino Mundia or Rueben Kamanga (Kaunda and Nkumbula  are above Kapwepwe’s contribution. So it is either Sata leaves of out Kapwepwe or include Kapwepwe
together with other heroes of his level). He has removed the Lenje-Soli name, Lusaka’s International Airport, and gave it to Kaunda. Now he is trying to create a taxi-payer funded state university in Northern University as first priority (pretext of promoting Kaunda’s name, the same man Sata and Chiluba tried to wipe out from history while in MMD) with no equal urgency for other provinces where different ethnic groups co-exist.   Yes, a few Bemba speaking appointees are benefiting as individuals. And you the ordinary Bemba speaker? Nothing. Zero. Taaku.Takuli. Kulibe! He used you to get the vote. Now he is in statehouse and enjoying alone without you.  And he has
dramatically changed, posing as Levy’s number one friend; naming him with
things. And what more? He preached vigorously, accusing Mwanawasa of conniving via corruption with the Chinese to exploit Zambians during the 2006 elections. And now?  He fed the Chinese using your taxi-paper’s money instead of feeding you his voters. Shockingly, he told the Chinese that they are not to blame. …. that even Levy was not to blame… that Levy knew how to use the Chinese and that the one to blame is ‘MMD’) (which MMD? Levy’s or Rupiah Banda’s)  who did not give the
Chinese ‘job-specifications!’ And you are there wriggling your waists with that donch kubeba song on empty stomach!
Look at me. I am a Lenje-Tonga.  My spouse is half Bemba ,half Namwanga. But neither me (as Sata’s tribal mupongoshi), my quarter Bemba –quarter Namwanga children or my spouse have benefitted anything from Sata’s tribal politics. So just oppose him.
Let me give you reasons why this Muchinga thing is nothing but populism.
Firstly, around double funding for Northern Province that will result in the creation of Muchinga province will bring tribal accusations between Bemba speaking people and other groups.  Already, there was a letter in The Post (20/10/11) by one Northerner accusing UPND President Hakainde Hichilema of practicing tribalism for opposing the creation of Muchinga Province but not opposing the moving of the provincial capital from Livingstone to Choma where Hakainde comes
from. You see now. Sata’s presidency is bringing in tribal sentiments, spreading into our ordinary lives.  The fact is that the two cases are totally different. In fact comparing them (Choma and
Mafinga) gives an impression that Sata wants to do cosmetic pronouncements about
‘developing other regions’ to deceive them while carrying out tangible developments
in Northern Province. If you move the provincial capital to Choma government
will of course spend money on improving office space and housing developments
in Choma; but this cancels out because since Choma is more developed as a town than any planned provincial capital for Muchinga Province, government will spend even more money developing that
Muchinga capital. Then once these towns are developed the annual allocation for the area now called Northern Province will double because if (just example) each province now gets K 500 billion for roads, this time K I trillion will go there, since you would need K 500 billion for the remaining Northern Province and another K 500 billion for Muchinga. Yet the amount going to Southern Province will remain the same at K500 billion.
Thus in Northern Province, Sata and all governments that will come after him allocate more funding to that region every year. But in Southern (and other provinces) no proportional increase will be made, only the provincial capital; a place for sharing the current funding, will change.

I warn that if Sata’s plan succeeds we might see any new president in future either scrapping off this new Muchinga Province or creating more provinces for their regions.
Secondly, if President Sata succeeds in creating the Muchinga Province, he must be prepared
to create the 11th Kafue province.  If he refuses, ethnic tensions may explode in Western Province.

Recall that because President Sata promised to restore the Barotseland Agreement, representatives of the Nkoya Royal Establishment are issuing statements demanding that since the Nkoya-speaking people do not wish to be ‘ruled by the Lozi’ ( this is their view, not mine)  once this Agreement is implemented, a new province called Kafue should be created as a breakaway from Barotseland and be part of mainstream Zambia. This province must include Itezhi Tezhi (from Southern Province), Mumbwa (from Central Province), Kasempa (from Northwestern Province) and Kaoma itself (from Western Province). As a result tensions are growing because the Lozi pro- Agreement leaders have vowed to fight any attempt by some Nkoyas to ‘cut off’ any part of Western Province. Of course these Nkoya threats to breakaway were there   even during the previous governments. But the previous government were careful enough by not promising the Barotse Agreement without renegotiating it or creating a Muchinga Province. But since President Sata has promised both, how
will he justify creating a Muchinga Province where he hails from but refuse the Nkoya who have had such a serious, and historically near- violent grievance since the colonial era?  I have said before that deception has short legs! If those who are so obsessed with political power think it will make up
for their personal failures and become instant heroes, they will live to regret.
Thirdly, if population is the reason for creating Muchinga Province, then why not divide Lusaka which has the highest population? From Zambia’s current 13,046,508 national populations, the provincial numbers (2010 census) are as follows:
Lusaka 2,198,996 (16.1 %,), Copperbelt 1,958,623 (15.0 %), Northern 1,759,600 (13.5
%), Eastern 1,707,731 (13.1%), Southern 1,606,793(12.3%), Central 1,267,803 (9.7 %), Luapula 957,976 (7.4%), Western 881,524(6.8%) and Northwestern 706,462 (5.4%). If you divide Northern Province, each of the new provinces created out of it, new Northern and Muchinga will have half the populations of Southern, Eastern, Lusaka and Copperbelt.  They will be roughly the population size of Western province. So should we then again sub-divide Southern and Eastern provinces so that their numbers became equal to those of the new Muchinga and new Northern provinces? Check these calculations:
According to President Sata’s proposal the new Muchinga should include Chama  district from Eastern Province (Chama has 101,412 people). To form Muchinga Province, Chama and its population should be combined with districts of Northern Province namely: Mpika (population 211,425), Chinsali (population 147,845), Isoka (population 164,410) and Nakonde (population 118, 0170. Add these figures. Muchinga province will have 743,109.
What population will remain in Northern Province? See this. Currently, Northern Province has 12 districts.

Remove the four mentioned above which will join Muchinga. The new Northern Province will remain with Chilubi (population 76,911), Kaputa  (population 113,485), Kasama (population 238,035), Luwingu (population 134,426), Mbala (population 213,254), Mporokoso (population 100,933), Mpululngu ( population 96,322), and Mungwi (population 144,537). So the Northern Province will be 1,117,903. Meanwhile the Eastern Province population will reduce from its current 1,707,731 to 1,606,319 since Chama (population 101,412) will be part of Machinga province.
So the question is, since  both new Northern Province and new Muchinga will be will less populated than Southern and  Eastern  (if fact than even Central), should these provinces also be sub-divided to be at par with Sata’s new provinces?
Let’s face it. When a province is made smaller in population but gets equal funding with larger ones, its inhabitants there benefit more. In fact this is the argument MP Catherine Namugala gives for
supporting the new province in her area. She wants the per capita-expenditure (average
government amount of money spent on improving each person’s welfare in the region)
to double.  But should it double there and not double in regions that will be now more populous than hers?
What is the problem with the way things were? All along Government was aware that some
provinces were slightly, only slightly, larger in size or populations than others. So larger ones were allocated a bit more funds and granted a few more districts there than elsewhere. For example in the 1969 budget Capital Fund for projects for Northern Province was
K1,661,281 while Southern Province got K1,411,037 ( See Dennis Dressings’ book: The Zambia Civil Service,1974:136). This was justified given the slight larger and more populated size of Northern Province. The Kaundas, Kapwepwes and Arthur Winas never went to extremes of creating provinces that are likely  to disadvantage other provinces and bring up more regionalized and ethnic rivalry-based  debates like Sata is trying to do.
Next Tuesday, we will examine whether compared with other provinces  Northern Province is  the poorest in terms of extreme poverty, infant mortality, life expectancy  and  administrative  accessibility  (  roads, railways, airports and telecommunications) to deserve Sata’s priority. We will show figures of its size in square kilometers and compare with other regions to examine whether its size justifies doubling its funding.

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