Editor's Comment

Keep tribalists out

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu (centre) with Patriotic Front elections chairperson Yamfwa Mukanga (left) visiting the venue for the provincial intra-party elections in Chipata yesterday. PICTURE: ROYD SIBAJENE/ZANIS

POLITICAL polarisation has made people think and appeal to their kith and kin.
Tribalism is slowly and dangerously crawling back into the Zambian political space. It is spreading at the pace just as much as hate is now finding home in what others call critical analysis.
Trending as it may, tribalism exists around small thinkers, people who can’t think on a national or global level.
It is imperative for citizens to embrace hard work to achieve their goals and stop depending on tribal sentiments. Citizens should freely mingle with each other without looking at tribe.
To continue thinking, behaving and acting tribal all the time is a small thinker’s mentality. It is a retarded way of operating.
When Zambia’s forefathers fought for political independence, they did so for the oneness of this great country so that its people can live in peace and unity.
The urge to fight for political and economic freedom became apparent because of the divide and rule tactics by the colonialists.
Citizens were denied certain human rights – including the freedom of association, movement and assembly.
There was segregation in terms of access to certain facilities such as shops, education and medical.
Citizens could not believe that they were not only being divided or segregated but restricted in terms of movements.
Winning independence in 1964 was only the beginning of the bigger battle to emancipate the country as a lot of work lay ahead of the new government.
But it later transpired that multi-party politics on which the country should have entrenched its democratic governance was now a threat to sustainable development.
This made President Kenneth Kaunda, who was the leader of the then governing United National Independence Party (UNIP), engage his rivals to form a one-party state.
This culminated into the historical Choma Declaration of 1973.
On June 27, 1973, Dr Kaunda signed the Choma Declaration with Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula of the African National Congress (ANC), ushering the one-party State after the latter accepted to merge with UNIP.
To date, the Choma Declaration is hailed for being an insignia of peace and unity in the country.
It signaled bringing together over 70 different tribes spread across the country.
The UNIP government walked its talk with the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ motto as the peace and unity were visible to all.
But along the way, Zambians contended that they were mature enough to restore multi-party democracy and that tribalism was a thing of the past. Many Zambians still believe so and they live by this belief.
The return to multi-party politics in 1090 has, however, seen tribalism rearing its ugly head again, hence President Lungu’s concern and call to nip it in the bud.
Whilst many, and hopefully the majority, of Zambians genuinely believe in the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ motto, for some it seems this is a mere slogan.
Failure to adhere to the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ philosophy is a threat to the peace and unity this country has enjoyed for five decades.
Tribalism has to be stopped before it escalates to uncontrollable levels that include violence and disregard for the law.
President Lungu says after more than 50 years of independence, and after more than 50 years of peace and tranquility, fortified by tribal intermarriages and co-existence, it is saddening that Zambia continues to hear of tribal sentiments being perpetrated, especially in the political arena.
Politicians should take up President Lungu’s challenge to condemn tribalism. In fact, they should not only condemn it, but should also demonstrate that they indeed detest it.
Leaders must lead by example. When they do so, their followers are likely to do the same. Turning a blind eye to tribal misdeeds, is tantamount to supporting the vice.
Citizens will do well distance themselves from such leaders because such people do not deserve any position of leadership at any level be it politics or any other organisation.

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