PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza has demanded a public apology from United Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba for branding people from Luapula and Eastern Provinces as thieves.

Commenting on GBM’s sentiments, where he said most thieves in government hail from Luapula and Eastern Province, Mwanza told News Diggers in an interview that the UPND’s sentiment was a recipe for civil unrest.

“The tribal sentiments by Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba are extremely unfortunate and raises cause for worry, looking at the fact that this is a man who is a Vice-President of a leading opposition party and has served in government as a Cabinet minister a member of parliament. So we expect that such tribal talks where you categorise a certain tribe and certain groupings in a stereotypical manner that Mr Mwamba has done to the people of Eastern Province and those from Luapula, should not be coming from him. To categorise Easterners and Bembas as thieves because of the perception that he has over individuals, is not only an insult to the groups of people but it is also a serious injury to this nation. This kind of reckless talk has got the ability to raise tribal discomfort and civil war,” Mwanza said.

“It’s this reckless talk that resulted into the genocide in Rwanda, where someone would go on radio and categorise a group of people as cockroaches. So for anyone to go to the media and categorise groups of people as thieves, such sentiments are the ones that are a cause of tribal divisions and tribal wars in other countries. So we demand that Mr GBM must apologise to all Easterners and to the people of Luapula because he can’t call us Easterners and our tribal cousins collectively as thieves.”

Mwanza charged thatGBM’s remarks were testimony that he was coming from an abusive and violent party.

“But also, this just shows you the quality of leaders that UPND has. This is someone’s running mate, a person who if, God forbid, Hichilema was to win election, this is the man who will have to be the Vice-President. A man who insults in front of cameras on live television. This is a man who justifies the beating of wives as normal and Mr Hichilema still hangs on to this man. So if Mr Hichilema is still keeping Mr GBM, it means he endorses his behaviour. We challenge Mr Hichilema to censure GBM, we challenge him to remove GBM as Vice-President of the UPND. If he doesn’t it simply means that he also agrees with these tribal insults. Because if HH doesn’t agree with GBM, he must ask GBM to make a public apology,” Mwanza said.

“When GBM was on Prime TV, insulting in front of cameras, Mr Hichilema did nothing about it. When News Diggers did an editorial to condemn GBM’s insults, Mr Hichilema was quiet when UPND cadres where insulting News Diggers for simply raising the issue that GBM was wrong to be insulting in public. So it’s clear that HH agrees with GBMs insults. But us in the PF, we are not surprised because UPND is anchored on tribalism, and anyone who has joined UPND, the only way to remain in UPND is if you tore the tribal line. Once you refuse to do that then you become an enemy of UPND. But again I want to be clear, it’s not the Tonga’s, it is the leaders in UPND that believe in tribal politics, that’s why now GBM because he is number two in UPND, he has also started thinking in tribal lines, that’s why today he can insult the entire Luapula and Eastern Provinces.”

Mwanza further said he could only imagine how UPND members would have reacted if it were Southerners who had been called thieves.

“If it was an Easterner or a person from Luapula saying that ‘Southerners and Westerners are thieves’, the UPND could have been up in arms, they could have even raised this issue in Parliament and asked for a point of order. Their propaganda social media platforms would have been buzzing the whole day and night about this to condemn and to vilify anybody who said those sentiments. But they are quiet because it suits them. And this is the quality of leadership in UPND, it is a tribal leadership… I was one of the strategists that made Mr Hichilema to become President, the only qualification he had is that he was Tonga and he had money. So if Mr Hichilema does not censure GBM and tender an apology on behalf of his party, it means that he supports insults from GBM,” said Mwanza.