People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says President Edgar Lungu must discipline PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri for making tribal remarks against Tonga people.

In a statement, Banda said Phiri’s remarks at a press conference on Wednesday, where she challenged the Tonga people to assemble a gathering called “Chuundu Chaitwa” to deal with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema were unfortunate and mocking.

“We would like to begin by expressing our outrage if there are any plans or attempts on the life of the Patriotic Front deputy Secretary General Mrs. Mumbi Phiri. If there are any persons threatening her life, they must be seriously condemned and prosecuted. However, It’s very unfortunate that Mrs. Mumbi Phiri at her press conference yesterday decided to challenge the Tonga people “Brothers from Southern Province” to assemble a gathering called ‘Chuundu Chaitwa’ to deal with Mr. Hakainde Hichilema over the recent Kuomboka motorcade fiasco,” Banda said.

Banda said that he expected Phiri to be at the forefront in promoting national unity amidst tension in the country unlike issuing remarks that had potential to divide the nation.

“We find her remarks very tribal and we would like to call upon President Lungu to discipline her for promoting tribal divisions in Zambia. What is particularly significant is that she is a very senior member of the ruling party and by extension, a major influence in state hierarchy and decisions. Consequently her divisive speech can be construed to be the position of her party and the government of the Republic of Zambia. In the midst of the current tension in the country, we would expect her to be at the forefront of promoting national unity. She must show the leadership in her statements which we know she is capable of doing,” Banda said.

He stressed the need for the ruling PF government to demonstrate leadership as well as to maintain high moral ground.

“The PF must remember that despite the controversial statements that have been coming from the UPND to undermine the Institution of the Presidency by questioning the legitimacy of the incumbent, they are the ones who must demonstrate leadership more than anyone. Being in government, hey are expected to maintain high moral ground,” Banda said.

“The Scriptures admonish us: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ How would Mrs. Mumbi Phiri the PF, and President Edgar Lungu feel and react if Honorable Garry Nkombo challenged the Bemba people of Muchinga Province to call a gathering to ‘tame’ Mumbi Phiri? The PF Deputy Secretary Generals’ snide comments are acidic to the fabric that holds our nation together as one Zambia one nation.”

He also asked Phiri to apologize, and restrain herself even in the face of provocation.

“Self-control is a virtue and a mark of mature leadership which we pray she is able to accomplish. President Edgar Lungu must reprimand her because her comments have the potential to escalate the current strife to calamitous proportions. By rebuking her President will send a strong message demonstrating that he does not tolerate tribalism. The buck stops at President Edgar Lungu,” said Banda.