Zambians Weigh Heavier than GBM.
Harrison Muyeba Musonda
If the threat by the
former UPND Vice President Godfrey Bwalya Mwamba against his former boss Hakainde Hichilema to never visit Northern, Luapula, and Muchinga Provinces is anything to go by, then Zambia is headed for difficult days ahead.
Mr. Mwamba is quoted to have said, “I have today publicly banned Haikainde Hichilema from visiting all Bemba speaking provinces. He went on to say if Hakainde Hichilema wants to feel my weight, he should visit Kasama next year for campaigns.”
This rhetoric is said to have emanated from the jeering that the Zambian Head of State is said to have experienced from some youth in Monze on his recent visit to the Southern Province. The booing of the President is nothing new in Zambia and the world at large. Booing is a statement of disapproval by the voiceless. It is a message being sent to the leader of the nation on matters of national interest, in this case, mismanagement of national affairs and natural resources, lack of leadership, tribal conflicts, corruption and economic plunder by elected officials, nepotism, disrespect of law and order by the governing party’s cadres and the uncertainty of nationhood by the citizens of Zambia.
Presidents all over the world have experienced this behaviour at any given time and for various reasons. On October 27th, 2019 while watching the Baseball World Series in Washington DC, President Donald Trump of the United States of America was booed when he was shown on the television monitors in the stadium. British Prime Minister Johnson has been booed and had eggs like missiles thrown at him. What Mr. Mwamba must know is that when people are dissatisfied with the system they turn into monsters and they vent their anger at their national leaders, and Zambia’s President is not immune to being booed.
First and foremost and without a doubt, Mr. Mwamba is indeed physically far much heavier than Hakainde Hichilema. If they were to be weighed on a metric scale he can beat Hakainde flat down. However, intellectually and if the measure of their business acumen was to be tested, I am certain that Mr. Mwamba can feel the weight of Hakainde Hichilema in every department.
It is frightening and sad to read news attributed to Mr. Mwamba that he has banned HH to visit these three provinces based on what I call childish tribal sentiments. I find his statement out of context and out of touch with our inter-tribal marriages that every Zambian family enjoys. It may seem that Mr. Mwamba wants the Bemba speaking group to rally behind his harboured hate for Hakainde Hichilema. He cannot bulldoze his weight around to bring down the unity of our nation based on personal hate and preconceived notion of being the Destabilizer in Chief. Mr. Mwamba is out of touch with reality and with the current state of globalization. He is weightless against the people of Zambia. If not stopped, it is such threats that led to the genocide in Rwanda. Zambians cannot be led to sink to such levels of disunity that would attract a blood bath.
Just in case Mr. Mwamba does not know his history and geography of the Republic of Zambia, it’s important to remind him that the tribal groupings of Luapula are not Bemba people although they largely use the Bemba language for their communication. The province is filled by the Lunda, Ng’umbo, Shila, Tambwa, Chishinga, Chibende, and other tribes. Muchinga Province also has other tribal groups such as the Namwanga, Lala, Bisa, Tumbuka, and others hence making Mr. Mwamba’s statement uninformed coming from a stone age mind.
For Mr. Mwamba, a leader in his own standing to claim authority and ownership over these three provinces is totally illogical and disregard of the rule of law, which allows for freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Let it register in Mr. Mwamba’s head that he has no right to stop any Zambian from moving freely in the land that was fought for by our founding fathers from all tribes in Zambia. The blood of Tongas, Lozis, Lundas, Kaondes, Luchazi, Ngonis, Tumbukas, Ilas, Mambwes, Lambas, Lenjes, and all other tribes that was spilt to gain independence is no less in value than the blood of Bembas who were brothers in arms with these other tribes for the common good.
When our forefathers put their heads together to fight for independence, they welcomed each other regardless of tribe. They held meetings together in the darkness of the night to fight for the liberation of our country from colonial rule. Unity of purpose was their core belief and they defeated the common enemy, the colonialist. Today, the common enemy is not a man or woman from another tribe but poor economic and political management of our country. This is what we should be fighting against. Any leader who claims political popularity using tribal sentiments of disunity is politically impotent and needs to check-in at Chainama for a mental evaluation.
History records that it was the likes of Goodwin Mbikusita Lewanika, Lawrence Katilungu, Simon Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Mainza Chona, Munukayumbu Sipalo, Kapasa Makasa, Peter Matoka, Willie Mwondela, Newton Nkanza, Elijah Mudenda, Fines Bulawayo, Grey Zulu, Dingiswayo Banda, Timothy Jilanda Kankasa, Jethro Mutti, Matiya Ngalande, Kenneth Kaunda, Justin Chimba, John Chisata, Jonathan Ntambu, Sikota Wina, Arthur Wina, Mama Julia Chikamoneka and many more who forwent their tribal inclinations and welcomed each other in their homes because they wanted an integrated Zambia and not a divided Zambia based on hate and trivialities.
It would be disingenuous if one fails to mention that there were some among our founding fathers who wanted to champion tribalism but they were quietly silenced by what lay ahead, gaining freedom, which was more important than the seed of disunity they tried to sow because these tribal sowers soon realized that a united nation was better than a fragmented nation.
The statement by Mr. Mwamba if it is true can be attributed to his desire to take the country backward for personal reasons or probably to try and make himself relevant in the political arena. Let him know that Zambia is beyond such baseless and immature hate engineered to bring disunity which if not condemned can grow to be a dangerous weed that will be difficult to exterminate. His statement is one that every peace-loving Zambian should condemn by all means. The first condemnation should come from the highest office of the land as a reprisal to any other future rhetoric that may be injurious to the unity that Zambians enjoy. Tolerating such poisonous statements and cheering such a leader is total insanity. It must stop because Zambians are heavier than Mr. Mwamba
Doesn’t Mr. Mwamba realize that we live in the 21st Century where we should be tolerant of other tribes and other people who are different than us? Doesn’t he have nephews and nieces with Tonga, Lozi, Lunda, or any other tribe’s blood in their nerves? If he is a true leader, he should be talking about unity and must be ready to welcome any person from any tribe. The Zambian melting pot made by President Kaunda cannot be broken by anyone. Rather we should be sealing the few cracks in our Zambian melting pot with brotherly love. Mr. Mwamba in his capacity as a heavyweight businessman as he often calls himself should be discussing policy matters of how he can help resolve food security, improve health for all, address literacy levels among the youth, resolve issues that affect the distribution of agricultural inputs and job creation for millions of unemployed youth.
Zambians from all walks of life should not be drawn into personal beef between two titans. If Mr. Mwamba has a personal beef to chew with HH, let them duke it out in the political ring. Using threats and sarcastic tribal rhetoric against a fellow citizen by throwing around one’s political weight is cheap politics and doesn’t contribute to the future of the poor youth who are being used to cause anarchy in exchange for a few kwachas or some alcohol. This is what UNIP Party Secretary-General Mainza Chona would say, “Shemuna! Shame.”
It’s time that our youth started reflecting on the role that the 1991 youth played to help change from the Kaunda administration when they worked hard to usher in the Movement of Multiparty Democracy. It’s not time to be used by selfish individuals who will dump them soon after the general elections. Our youth deserve better.
To all peace-loving Bemba speaking people of Northern, Muchinga, and Luapula Provinces, please don’t listen to leaders that will leave you bruised for many years to come just because they have a personal agenda or vendetta to fulfil. And to the Youth of Zambia, it is time to rise to the challenge of being uniters and not anarchists. No true leader in Zambia should ever use the tribal stigma as a measure of popularity or to win an election.
Let every peace-loving Zambian urge the Heavyweight Mr. Mwamba to withdraw the statement and apologize to all members of his family who are married to men and women from other tribes and indeed to the people of Zambia. Zambians are people that love each other under the banner of One Zambia, One Nation and they are much heavier than Mr. Mwamba at the ballot box.