President Edgar Lungu says he does not want to be the head of state who will be remembered for destroying the country.

And President Lungu has asked Western Province voters to elect leaders on merit, instead of tribe.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Chief Mweene Mutondo of the Nkoya people in Kaoma today, President Lungu said he did not want to destroy the country.

“I have said it that I don’t want to be the President who destroyed the country. I want to be the President who added on to what Dr Kaunda left, what Dr Chiluba left, what Mr Mwanawasa left, what president Banda left, what Mr Sata left, because this is cumulative, let’s build on what was left and I don’t want to destroy the peace,” President Lungu said.

“So far there have been peaceful campaigns and I hope that the peace will continue until Tuesday, we will vote and count the votes until we declare the winner. The next election will be 2021, that way, we can move this country.”

And President Lungu asked Western Province voters to elect leaders on merit, instead of tribe.

“We are essentially one people. My challenge is that in my quest to develop this country, I should not leave anyone behind, any tribe behind. It is not easy but my prayer is that can we obliterate from the political landscape this tribal thing, it is not tribe which should determine who should be MP here, or Minister, or President. It should be on merit, so help is inculcate the true values of nationalists amongst our political players so that we all appreciate ourselves as one people essentially,” President Lungu said.

“And I am saying so because I know that this area is inhabited by a lot of other tribes, there are Luvales, Lundas, Lozi’s, they are all here. And you allow us to stay here, to marry your daughters, your sons, to cultivate, take our children to school, set up churches, nothing tribal comes when we are doing these things but when it comes to sharing political power, it becomes ‘no he’s Luvale, he’s Lunda, he’s Lamba, he’s Chewa’, that is destroying us. Unfortunately, it is is the political players who are saying ‘don’t vote for this one, he is Lunda, he is Luvale, he is Nsenga’. I think let us fight together to obliterate the identification of ethnic groups and tribal regions in our selection of leaders and you can only do so if you yourselves as royal highnesses tell your subjects that ‘let’s vote on merit’.”

He said he did not care whether the people of Mangango would elect a representative from UPND, as long as they voted on merit.

“And today I said I don’t care working with UPND, if people in Mangango choose to choose UPND but they should choose a person who will respect the oneness of this country. So this is the message I’ve brought today because this is a region which is in turmoil when it comes to sharing political power. But after that, you go back to normalcy but this normalcy should be allowed to become the norm even when there is a campaign. But for me, I consider all of you my royal highnesses as my Chiefs, I am your son and I will keep coming to see you. Invite you to Lusaka, we seat down, and we hear what is happening here. So for me who is President, if you give me an MP who is not working with me, I will try to circumvent him and get your royal highness so that you become the MP. I don’t want to drag you into politics but I think I should make this very clear,“ said President Lungu.