Editor's Comment

Indeed we are one

THE Kuomboka Ceremony of the Lozi people.

THE thoughtful decision by Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II of the Lozi people in Western Province to invite Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi of the Chewe people in Eastern Province to grace the Kuomboka traditional ceremony is a great step towards national peace building.The gesture will no doubt go a long way in cementing relations and promoting peace not only between the two provinces but nationally.
Unlike the trend in the past, where politicians or government officials were invited to grace Kuomboka, this year’s ceremony was different and pleasantly so because a traditional leader from another province was invited instead.
For the first time, Gule Wamkulu was also on hand to add colour to the prestigious event that has been in existence for ages.
This is indeed commendable considering that in the recent past, the country has witnessed tribal divisions propagated by some politicians.
The tribal divisions were even more pronounced during the 2016 general elections as evidenced by the voting patterns in some regions.
During the last elections, it was so evident that some people in some areas voted not on merit but on tribal lines.
Such tendencies, if left unchecked, have potential to plunge the country into chaos and subsequently erase the country’s reputation of five decades as a haven of peace.
Africa provides enough lessons through countries that plunged into conflict on tribal lines. Rwanda is one of them, where over 800,000 people were killed in the genocide in 1994.
Every Zambian has an obligation to jealously guard the peace we enjoy today because it came at a great price, and in some instances, at the expense of life.
We cannot allow politics, tribe, race or religion to divide the country, which has been anchored on the strong foundation of ‘One Zambia, one nation’, for 54 years.
Zambia is characterised by intermarriages, which have produced hybrid citizens from different tribes.
Most citizens identify with more than one tribe or part of Zambia.
Needless to say, gestures like one exhibited by the Litunga should be encouraged and emulated by all traditional leaders across the country.
As rightly pointed out by the Litunga, the need to establish co-operation among the various tribes or areas of the country cannot be overemphasised.
The Litunga is also right in saying the Zambian cultural values are similar and, therefore, people should not let distance divide the nation.
“This year’s Kuomboka ceremony was eminent and prominent because it is the first time a fellow traditionalist is gracing this important event. It is our hope that what we have demonstrated here today will send a message to the world and to all parts of Zambia that there is a lot of pillars that need concrete bond, concrete peace to stand firm.
“What we have done today is to establish a pillar that points to the direction of strength. And in this action, it is my hope that Zambia stands firm because if there is collaboration, this country will stand strong and be peaceful,” the Litunga said.
Certainly, collaboration among the various parts of the country is key to not only building a peaceful but a prosperous country, too. And traditional leaders play a pivotal role.
The Litunga has set a precedent, which we expect other traditional leaders to follow. It is our hope that from now onwards, all traditional ceremonies will be graced by chiefs from other tribes.
While the immediate natural thing for the Chewa chief to do is reciprocate the Litunga’s gesture, it will also be good for him to go beyond Western Province and probably invite Chief Mukuni of Southern Province.
After all we are one.

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