By Roderick Mazuba
The Zambian people should open their eyes and see what a desperate PF regime can do to divide its people through acts of desperation in the wake of its declining fortunes. The construction of a Tonga fundamentalist group calling itself ‘Tongas on Oath’ is nothing other than the ruling party’s desperation to distract people’s attention from Michael Sata’s endemic tribalism and nepotism. The desperate attempt to link the UPND to the group is an obvious and well calculated scheme aimed at reversing Hakainde Hichilema’s growing popularity in the wake of PF’s tribalism, nepotism and failures to meet the expectations of the Zambians who voted for the PF. Instead of addressing the issue of their tribalism and nepotism, the PF wants to throw their dirty to Hichilema by creating a wedge between Tongas and Bembas.
Any reasonable person who has been following the recent developments in Zambia need only to link and not isolate the recent events to understand what is going on. All what you need is to link the recent arrest of Hichilema, the search at the UPND Secretariat for seditious materials, the unrelentless tribal attacks targeted at Hichilema while Geoffrey Mwamba(GBM)’s interview with Mazabuka Community radio where he accused Hichilema of dividing Tongas and Bembas provides a powerful clincher and lead to the whole episode. Is it not a coincidence that the ‘Tongas on Oath’ group which is reported to have used the Mazabuka Municipal Council address was reported on 3rd September 2012 in government media just after GBM’s interview with a radio station in Mazabuka where he alleged that Hichilema is dividing Tongas and Bembas? The following day, both PF government controlled newspapers, Times of Zambia and Daily Mail reports about this ‘Tonga on Oath’ group and goes on to link the clandestine group to UPND’s popularity in Southern Province. Is UPND only popular in Southern Province? Southern Province has only 19 constituencies but UPND has more than 30 members of parliament some of which are from Western, Central and North Western Provinces. Deliberately Southern province is singled out as the only stronghold for Hakainde why? The answer is simple: Divide and rule.
It is important for Zambians to understand where this is coming from. At one time the Zambia Daily Mail reported on its headline that ‘PF is the most tribal party’ in Zambia because all positions were held by people from one region, the Bembas. This is the party which was ushered in power without due consideration to this fact and it has continued with impunity to brazenly display its tribalism and nepotism rendering it to be referred to as a ‘family forest’ as compared to Levy Mwanawasa’s ‘family tree.’ Instead of simply addressing the Bemba tribalism, the PF is throwing this dirty to Hakainde who is not in power to divert attention. Bemba politicians have used this tactic even to Anderson Mazoka but today they want to compare Hakainde to Mazoka claiming the later was a national leader and received support from nationwide. Let the truth be told, indeed Mazoka received support nationwide but not from Bembas. The records are there for the voting patterns of Bemba dominated Northern, Luapula and Copperbelt provinces in 2001 and a similar pattern appears for Hakainde in 2006, 2008, 2011. One wonders why Bembas feel threatened by Tongas to the extent of accusing every Tonga aspiring for leadership in Zambia of having an agenda to sort them out. This tactic was used to Mazoka to alienate him from Bemba voters and is now being used by PF to Hakainde Hichilema. Using arrogance of numbers, Bembas want to brag that Hichilema cannot win without their support as they are the majority but fail to appreciate that Mazoka won in 2001 without their support. Had they voted for Mazoka like the rest of the country as they claim today, Chiluba would have failed to rig the elections in favour of Mwanawasa. This arrogance of numbers, tribalism and hegemonic tendencies by Bembas has given credence to their resentment not only by Tongas but is currently increasingly their isolating from the rest of the Zambian people who gave them benefit of doubt.
Bembas who have interacted with Tongas know that Tongas are peaceful, hardworking and welcoming people. Tonga hospitality has gone to such extremes of allowing Bemba arrogance of speaking their language in Southern province without the resentment they get from other provinces. Today PF wants to start genocide between Tongas and Bembas by accusing a humble people of Southern province of killing Bembas.
Shame on you! These desperate and genocidal tactics by the PF are not new but very old and can only be used by people with little intelligence who think people cannot see through their cheap tricks. GBM boasts of access to intelligence but he lacks the intelligence to analyse intelligence information.
Even if the story is true about that fictitious group, why alarm the nation and create unnecessary tension between people? How much intelligence information does the state receive about subversive elements, some of which is merely a creation by irresponsible intelligence officers under instructions from desperate politicians? Any regime that is dictatorial and suppressive will always look for opportunities to fix their opponents and this is what the PF is doing. Saddam Hussein used such scare tactics and could cry in front television cameras addressing a press conference to announce a foiled attempt on his life. Thereafter he would announce a list of innocent people implicated in the attempt and execute them to death one by one. This is what happens when state power falls in the hands of a dangerously incompetent group of people who find security in their tribe and relatives and want to proliferate their rule by instilling divisions and fear in the people.