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Lungu appeals to chiefs to help end tribal politics

PRESIDENT Lungu (left) yesterday held talks with chiefs Chikanta, Sinazongwe and Mapanza of the Tonga-speaking people of Southern Province in Choma. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA/ STATE HOUSE.

PRESIDENT Lungu has requested traditional leaders to help bring sanity to the political arena by advising politicians to desist from engaging in tribal politics.
And President Lungu says Zambia will remain peaceful before, during and after the August 11 tripartite elections because he will not allow any person to be harassed as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Speaking when he met Senior Chief Chikanta, Chief Singani, Chief Sinazongwe and Chief Mapanza of Choma yesterday, President Lungu said traditional leaders have a huge role to play in curbing tribal talk.
“This tribal talk going round among politicians should be discouraged so that we can go back to times when the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ motto really meant to unite us. So, my request to you the chiefs is to help us bring sanity to the political terrain,” he said.
President Lungu said the House of Chiefs should use its influence on chiefdoms to help sanitise the political arena by helping to discourage tribalism and regionalism.
The head of State wondered how Zambia has fallen prey to tribal politics when the country was founded on principles of oneness.
“I don’t know where all this tribal talk is coming from and how it started because during the times of our former President Kaunda, there was no such talk. I remember when I was growing up it was all ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ but I don’t know what has happened today,” he said.
President Lungu urged traditional leaders to counsel all politicians either privately or publicly to help end tribal politics.
Mr Lungu said chiefs should admonish politicians when they observe tribal talk taking centre stage.
“Let us not allow this issue to drive us away from our focus of developing this country. We are all your children, when you see that a child is going in the wrong direction, please bring them back to the right path. Admonish us if you can,” he said.
President Lungu urged traditional leaders not to be lowered to standards of politicians because chiefs are beyond partisan politics.
He said a politician will defect from the Patriotic Front (PF) to United Party for National Development (UPND) and vice versa and talk ill of the party they have left.
President Lungu said politicians are dynamic people who want political power at all costs and will go to any extent of securing such authority.
“The issue of politics, please leave to politicians because the Royal Highnesses are too good to be brought to the level of politics. Don’t allow politicians to bring you to their level but keep advising us when we are wrong,” he said.
President Lungu encouraged the chiefs to positively advise politicians before, during and after the August 11 general elections for purposes of developing the country.
The President said he has advised PF leaders to desist from engaging in tribal politics because it is a recipe for anarchy and confusion.
President Lungu also cautioned the media to be factual and not be mischievous in their reporting.
He assured traditional leaders in Southern Province of his unflinching commitment to support development.
The President also said he will soon discuss with Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda on the possibility of increasing allowances for traditional leaders.
Senior Chief Chikanta said traditional leaders in the province will continue to work with the government of the day.
He urged politicians to desist from issuing inflammatory statements when seeking votes but rather convince citizens on how they will improve their well-being if elected.
The traditional leader commended President Lungu for signing the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill into law.
He also appealed to Government to improve feeder roads and to consider making the economic empowerment for women a nation-wide programme.
Chief Chikanta also said the tractor programme, which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender, should be extended to all chiefdoms because it will help empower women.
The chief said President Lungu has proved to be a humble leader who can withstand any kind of political storm and urged him to continue with the same spirit.
And the head of State said Zambia will remain peaceful before, during and after the general elections because there will be no harassment of people regardless of their political affiliation.
President Lungu said this here yesterday when he addressed a rally at Choma Independence Stadium attended by thousands of residents.
“Let me assure you as commander-in-chief of the armed forces that there will be peace in this country even as we face these elections. We have chosen democracy and democracy we shall practice in tranquillity,” he said.
Mr Lungu said he does not want to see Zambia become a war-torn country after enjoying peace for many years.
He said there is no situation Zambia can fail to control but it is important to jealously guard the peace the country enjoys.
President Lungu said democracy allows people to criticise each other.
And President Lungu said PF members who want to leave the party should do so and form their own parties.
The President said there is enough time to form a political party and participate in the forthcoming elections.
“Let me challenge those who think PF is their personal-to-holder party to leave now and form their small parties so that we can meet in the electoral battlefield and win them,” he said.
Mr Lungu said officials, whether founder members or old ones wishing to leave the ruling party, should do so now.
He urged PF members to embrace newcomers because it is the only way the party will continue to grow and convincingly win the August 11 tripartite elections.
President Lungu also urged the provincial leadership to start identifying people who are willing to contest parliamentary and local government seats on the PF ticket.
He encouraged women and youths to apply for adoption on the PF ticket because the party wants to incorporate them in national development.
“We want 40 percent women, 40 percent youths and 20 percent free for all. Women and youths are the best human resource and that is what we want in our party,” President Lungu said.
The head of State also said there will be no re-run of the August 11 general elections because he will win the polls with ease.
Mr Lungu said Zambians are in safe as long as he continues to be head of State.
President Lungu also admonished some opposition leaders who have continued to negatively criticize, urging them to provide solutions if they love Zambians.
And in Kalomo, President Lungu assured Zambians that he will continue to protect democracy and not to promote lawlessness in the country.
Mr Lungu said this is because democracy plays an important role in the governance of the country.
The head of State said this when he addressed a rally at Kalomo school grounds before inspecting an ultra-modern Kalomo District Hospital, which has been constructed by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.
“We are aware that some people are sponsoring you so that you can start breaking the law. It is a shame and don’t tolerate such people because they don’t mean well to the nation,” President Lungu said.
He said it is also sad and a mark of provocation for the United Party for National Development members to be raising the opposition party symbol whenever the PF is holding meetings.
President Lungu said such acts perpetuate violence and anarchy and should not be tolerated by all well-meaning Zambians.

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