Sata’s dirty tribalsim and national development

Sata’s dirty tribalsim and national development

By Tobias Hatembo

It is our great calling as a nation to build Zambia our country until it becomes a developed nation. In doing so, we have to fight forces of poverty and underdevelopment until we defeat them and pave way for the attainment of our dreams and aspirations, but again in doing so we find we have to be united as one rather than be  divided into sectional groups in order to defeat these forces of poverty and underdevelopment.

We are however naturally divided into various tribes and regions and we are a people of various backgrounds and cultures but our social arrangement provides for a government whose primary objective is to keep us united as one within our national boundary. Only then can we face the great task ahead of us to make Zambia a better place to live in.

When viewed in the context of the world’s rich nations Zambia still has a long, long way to go before it can be anywhere near the world’s rich countries. The talk about economic indicators pointing to a better situation is probably just ‘opium to the masses’ to borrow from Karl Marx – opium to the majority poor meant to give us false hope that the harsh conditions of life that we find ourselves in are soon getting over.  It does not look so.

In trying to achieve national development the critical role of politicians and the government in particular need no emphasis. A development oriented government will not fail to see the need to unite its citizens as one nation galvanized behind its development programs in order to increase performance. It is worse when a government begins to work to divide the citizens along tribal lines and in the share of the national cake or other bases. Such a government does not give confidence that those running it know what they are doing, it is cause for worry that those tasked to run government seem not to have the correct perspective as to the value of the collective effort of the people in fighting poverty and underdevelopment.

The need for the collective effort of all our people cannot be underestimated considering how far we are before we can say we are a developed nation. Imagine that our route towards national development has many mountains that stand in our way and we have to push them out of the way in order for us to pass. Imagine also the magnitude of the mass-inertia (tendency to remain stationary) which we have to overcome to move even just one such mountain.

What would be the ability of any one individual amongst us to move such a mass alone? Or even with his or her family, friends and relatives; or including his church? Or further still including his tribe or people of his region alone? Would he garner the necessary force to move the almost infinite mass of the mountain?  And that is just one mountain anyway!

The answer is no, that is not possible. In similar manner it would be a deception for those running our government today to think that they can run the affairs of the nation with only their relatives, their friends and their tribe mates alone believing that in this way they can make Zambia achieve her development goals!

Such a government must be so closely watched because by this action alone it provokes suspicion that it has other ulterior motives for itself and not for the people, why because the national goals of the people cannot be achieved by a selected few from one tribe or region of the country but from the collective effort of the entire population acting as one. The PF could be a party which rode on the people’s goodwill but with a hidden motive (Donchi Kubeeba) to create a government of one tribe by that tribe and for that tribe alone, but this is contrary to our national expectations and it is cause for worry and for our talking daily.

It is openly clear that our government led by Sata Sata is skewed in favour of one tribe – the Bemba tribe, his tribe. Sata is a Bemba of Bisa ethnicity or dialect, of the northern region of the country. And this is the region where Sata has proposed and will put in place monumental development programs to divide the region into two provinces including building two new Universities. A further check will show that this is a region that produces almost nothing tangible for the national cake! Compare the relative benefits this region is lined to receive directly as a result of Sata being the president (and hailing from that region) with the poverty and underdevelopment levels of North Western province the home of Lumwana and Kansanshi mines.

Would it be an exaggeration to say that the underdeveloped N/W has been scheduled to fund Sata’s home region instead of funding itself? Or is Sata still coming back for N/W province? But why start with his region anyway? There is the case of Western Province where the people have been crying for long for development, it has equally no universities and lacks so much other modern infrastructure. Does the fact that Sata hails from the northern region make the region special in development attention?

This is a skewed social economic political situation Sata has orchestrated. The voices of dissent from various individuals in the country, from chiefs in N/Western province, N/W MP’s and from Barotseland should not surprise anyone, they are signals that something is wrong and must be corrected. If anything these people are simply saying why are we being divided instead of being united so that together we fight the battles that we have to fight to make Zambia a better place to live in; they are simply asking why are you trying to push the mountains alone when it is clear you cannot move any on your own.

Further to this, how will anyone of any sensible mind stand up today to tell the Tonga’s of the southern region that they have had no justification to engage in politics that targeted Bemba Tribalism in the country? How can any sensible person today say Hakainde of the UPND was unjustified to worry about the possible victory of Michael Sata for presidency?  By default Sata’s actions have vindicated the Tonga’s whose long struggle against Bemba tribalism is there for all to see but has never been recognized.  Instead it has always been brushed aside as Tonga tribalism! It is true that reality and truth itself cannot be defeated by anyone or anything – the Tonga’s have always been clear about the tendencies of Bembas to build a Bemba Hegemony in the country. Today the clever rabbit has been caught, or rather the boastful monkey in the trees has missed a branch and it has fallen, thanks to Sata’s overly tribal actions.

Sata is indeed not a visionary leader. If what he has achieved so far in polarizing the people of Zambia based on tribe and the skewed distribution of the national cake is anything to go by, Sata is truly not a leader in tandem with the aspirations of the people of Zambia today.  Sata needs to re-examine his position else he is a liability to the development dreams of the people of Zambia and he will go down in history as the president who killed the people’s dream for development. And if he is not a visionary leader himself his ruling PF too cannot be a visionary political party; the people of Zambia better quickly begin to look for an alternative.

A visionary leadership will best understand its role in leading a country struggling to come out of poverty and underdevelopment. Such a leadership cannot underrate the need to keep the national human resource united behind the national development programs – that would be suicide; in fact one can say the seriousness of a government in driving the national development agenda can be judged on how serious it is in uniting the people. This is not what we are seeing with Sata’s government.

A visionary leadership must be able to move the national development plan on a set of ideas rather than on the tribal arrangement; such an arrangement cannot work and is a clear indicator in itself that the leadership is blunt and does not in fact deserve the solidarity of the suffering masses. It is a leadership that cannot help us to garner the effort of all in fighting poverty and underdevelopment which has continued to afflict the great majority of our people since 1991. Such a leadership cannot pretend anymore to be people oriented; it is anti-people and clearly deserves no role in our push for greater heights in developing the country.

The PF leadership stands only to delay the struggle of the people in fighting poverty; time is not there to allow one individual with his tribe to massage his political egos with state power for the sake of it. We need this state power to be in the hands of leaders who are highly conscious of the national development tasks ahead of us, of the many mountains and valleys we have to overcome to become a decent nation – a developed nation. Tribe is not a variable in the development equation as Sata himself agrees. Why place it in the equation? And the Bemba Tribe for that matter!

The Bemba’s or generally people originating from the northern region have ruled us before for 37 years.  Yet it is this same period during which Zambia‘s economy almost ground to zero from highest levels in 1964! The culture of nichekeleko (corruption) came up during this period, not giant local factories rolling airplanes and cars for the world markets. If tribe is anything to go by in issues of development what pride would we have today that a Bemba or someone from the north is heading government again? That is the basis of the argument! Katwaamba Notuyoowa. That is the basis of resistance led by the Tonga’s! The argument is scientific; it is based on observation. If we are to extrapolate from the past record to try and see how Zambia will perform under Sata based on his tribe alone you cannot obtain ‘development’ as your answer impossible but dictatorship, nichekeleko and Bemba tribalism!!!

It is not a mere coincidence that within 90 days of being in office one product of Sata’s rule is heightened Bemba Tribalism; it shows from extrapolation! And this is how some of us made our voting decisions against Sata on September 20 2011.

And if tribalism is not there in our national development equation, how shall we expect development under Sata’s government which has put this variable in the equation?

Our hope in wanting to change government on 20th September 2011 was to make serious strides towards a developed Zambia but the dream seems to be shuttering in our faces, shuttered in tribalism and regionalism so deeply entrenched in Michael Sata and his PF government.

The PF leadership may have come on board on a popular vote (44% only anyway), but this tribalism the PF is openly practicing at almost all top levels of government is its undoing. It does not matter whatever else the PF will do to try and make Zambia a better place to live in, it will fail because there is a wrong variable in the development equation; they are going nowhere unless they seriously reconsider their position. To Sata we wish to say not all Bembas are tribally trash, come 2016 you will be alone in the dock; it will be ‘The People Versus the Great Deception of 2011’ which brought in a Tribalist to the topmost echelons of power in Zambia.


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