To begin with, allow me to thank you for the great job you are doing through your powerful online public media with reference to reporting factual and ongoing events of public concern in our country. There is no doubt that your work is intended to inform our society about itself and to make public, things that would otherwise be private.
I am writing this piece out of great irritation, caused by President Michael Chilufya Sata’s intolerable tribalism. Under Sata’s leadership tribalism has become elevated to the status of a national culture which dominates national discourse, controls how we think and talk, and determines what we oppose or support.
The menace of tribalism, which has crept into our country from the time Sata came into power should cause headaches for all peace loving Zambians.
As Zambians, one would have thought that we have seen enough of what senseless engagement in tribal politics can do to a nation. Some of us are serving in the army and had numerous ‘opportunities’ to be deployed for the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations and are living witnesses to the carnage that went on in Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia, and other places. These countries all fell into the abyss due to tribalism and ethnicity which started at a time they thought was to be overlooked.
When Sata formed his cabinet dominated by his relatives and region mates, little did we know that his tribalism would spread through like fire to other public offices like a tsunami. Today you need to be a ‘Bemba’ to be given a high public office. Majority of people in foreign missions are ‘Bembas’:
Nintey-nine (99 %) of all the people serving in Zambia’s embassies and High commissions are Notherners.
In the next piece we will publish all the names of the ‘Bemba’ populace serving in these embassies. These are the symptoms of Sata’s cancer of tribalism, and it is therefore expedient that we safeguard our dear country against his attempt to further inject his venom of tribalism into our democracy.
For the purposes of this article I shall use a narrower definition of a tribe as a grouping of ‘Bemba’ people whose loyalty to their group is greater than their loyalty to Zambia.
The quest for tribalism and tribal discrimination over the two years Sata has been in power is traced to his natural hatred for other tribes.
One would accommodate Sata’s tribalism if it was based on a recount for example of how ‘Bembas’ or Sata’s forbearers had defeated other tribes like Lozis or Tongas in wars and enslaved them. This would maybe justify both his pride and hatred for other tribes since his ancestors would have been ‘better’ than Lozis or Tongas or other tribes, so also would they now. But this is not in our history. Therefore, one wonders what makes Sata hate other tribes with hatred from the crater of hell. His tribalism seems inborn than indoctrinated.
Despite being a tribalist, Sata and his flatterer Fred M’membe shamelessly try to whip tribal sentiments for their own political purposes. They try to concoct stories aimed at infuriating other tribes so that they may not vote for certain parties or individuals.
A scavenger as Sata is, he knows that he has ‘nothing better to offer’ when it comes to issues of national development. And so, by playing the tribal card against innocent people like Hakainde Hichilema, he thinks he will be able to skip the national issues at stake. He has failed to recognize that his actions are causing more harm to the very State he is governing.
Perhaps Sata cannot be blamed considering the fact that he is like a vulture that feeds on people’s vulnerabilities. Therefore, those who fall victim are those who allow themselves.
The negative effects of Sata’s tribalism are not far-fetched. First of all his tribalism is breeding nepotism which is already resulting in mediocre public service delivery. It is suppressing merit, encouraging corruption by giving much needed cover and immunity for perpetrators. It is also standing in the way of national cohesion and consensus and creating a distraction away from serious national issues.
Regrettably, Sata is not aware that his tribalism can be a prelude to a civil war. Does Sata know the amount of money and personnel that would be needed to quell tribal conflicts that can be used for other pressing and important needs?
We know that there are good and bad people in every tribe or family, therefore, we owe it as a duty to leave a peaceful Zambia to our children just as we inherited it. All the tribes in Zambia have more things in common than things that divide us under Sata’s rule.
I have lived in several African countries and I have never heard a discussion of tribal issues from my colleagues or read it in newspaper articles like I do here in Zambia. Throughout my stay in foreign countries, I cannot say for sure which tribes my colleagues belonged to. It was simply not an issue. In some countries, educated people are ashamed of making references to tribal differences. This allows the society to focus on real issues like education, health, transport, security, and other sectors.
I look forward to having a coalition of like-minded Zambians who are against Sata’s tribalism in order to give some hope to our country.
In the end we must all reject persons like Sata who come to us preaching tribalism by giving jobs to his relatives and region mates and deceitfully praying that our mother Zambia will continue to be a safe secure haven for us all.
Please publish without my name