CHILDREN’S CORNER with PANIC CHILUFYA
ZAMBIA went to the polls last week on Tuesday to elect a successor to President Sata, who died in London in October. On Sunday we witnessed the colourful inauguration of our sixth republican President, Mr Edgar Lungu, who emerged victorious out of an election that was contested by 10 other candidates.
During the run-up to the election some of the campaigns were characterised by tribal talk. this vice extended to some online and electronic media. it was difficult to believe that we are indeed a Christian nation. As a result of the unending and sometimes hurtful tribal sentiments, last Wednesday I was prompted to write about the effect tribalism has on our children and youth, most of whom are as a result of inter-marriages; which have become are part of the Zambian cultural fabric. I expressed the desire for the new president to consider criminalising tribalism as a way of curtailing this very sad and worrying trend which has had disastrous consequences elsewhere if left unchecked.
At his inauguration President Lungu spoke on the need for all the corners of the country to unite and work together for the good of the country regardless of where they come from. This is in line with the One Zambia, One Nation motto introduced by President Kaunda and his comrades at independence which sadly just seems to be rhetoric now and is slowly losing its true and profound meaning.
Below are reactions from some of our readers.
Dear Ms Chilufya, people, especially politicians, use tribe as a platform for getting power and other advantages. Our society is very complex, and far different from what it was in 1964, with the divisions promoted by colonial authorities. Today, Zambia has a complex ethnic and racial mix, a tapestry of social harmony. Those who sing the tribal song have never been to Chawama, Misisi, Kalingalinga, Mtendere, John Laing, Kawama, Pamodzi, to see how people work together to eke out a living, how they marry and raise children, and how they resolve social challenges together in spite of, or with no regard to tribe. It is a shame that experienced and seasoned politicians are the ones in the forefront of such statements, oblivious of the changed and advanced nature of our current society.
Perhaps, you are right – hate speech of this sort should be criminalised. Careless talk has led to disastrous consequences in Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, and Kosovo/Serbia. Beware.
Jannet K, Lusaka had this to say: Powerful article on what we are teaching our children. I detest this tribal hate during political campaigns. I am seething and am a no-nation citizen.
Melvin: Very powerful.
Musenge : So true.
Miyoba: Well said!!!!
Monica: The way I hate the so-called tribalism.
Ceci Moyo, UK, had this to say: Spot on mama. The narrative on elections and election campaigns as based /and or based on tribal lines has unfortunately been a trend, especially during our elections, you rightly observe that this is sad. I applaud your article as a dialogue of many to rethink and promote the One Zambia, One Nation spirit. It is up to the now and future generations and mostly the Zambian people to transcend political tribalism. Tribe is not what defines us, it is our richness, our culture etc. Our Zambianess should not be left to politicians or for them to define us. Maybe promoting dialogue that goes beyond tribalism in schools and communities can be advanced to promote our unity in diversity. The promotion of narrow tribal narratives is unfortunate and instead blinds the nation to the real socio- economic issues that are major factors informing our voting patterns, at least for the majority.
My sister you are very right. Most of our homes are like the United Nations. To begin to emphasise on oneâ€™s tribe is absurd. Like you put it, the first thing our children know is that they are Zambians. Leadership must not be based on oneâ€™s tribe. Bernard.
Mundia wrote:Â Well-spoken mum, it is so surprising that itâ€™s actually our elderly parents who are in the forefront of spearheading tribal talk. Tribal attacks are so painful, especially if you come from a tribe considered inferior…
We are not interested in such lunacy!!! What we want is equal opportunities for every Zambian. My daughter does not understand my language nor her fatherâ€™s. Well said, we are ONE! Becky C, South Africa
Well written. We need of such insights in writing. Keep it up. Rose
Ms Chilufya, all you have written is true. It is one Zambia, one Nation. I am a Tonga married to a Bemba lady and I donâ€™t have a problem with that.Â It is really sad the level of tribalism being exhibited. Richard
Well written. I am still so shocked at the comments that I am reading on social media. It is really hurtful especially for those who have been targeted. Zenith.
Nchimunya C:Â Well said.
It is my hope that now that the elections are over and we have a jubilee president we will accept and appreciate each other regardless of which corner of Zambia we hail from or our political affiliations. We are all made in Godâ€™s image and therefore we are all equal before our Creator. If we fail to set the right examples now, our children will be misled and posterity will certainly judge us very harshly.
Remember, children are our future, until next week, take care.