Alliance for Community Action Executive Director Laura Miti says President Edgar Lungu is a lethal tribalist.
And Sesheke UPND member of parliament Romeo Kang’ombe has wondered how committed President Lungu is to dialoguing with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema when he insults the opposition leader on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, Hichilema says President Lungu’s tribal remarks don’t shock him.
Speaking to journalists in Livingstone, Saturday, the Head of State said one day, a Tonga would rule Zambia, but certainly not the current aspirant.
“I love Tongas, even them they love me but only one man is messing up everything. Now you ask yourself, what’s so special [about him]? We will one day have a Tonga President but certainly not the current aspirant,” said President Lungu.
“It is not about tribe. It is about tribe, it is about who you are [and] character. Me I grew up with people from other tribes and I am a product of Zambia so don’t worry about tribe? We are all Zambians, that’s what matters.”
President Lungu also said if the people of Southern Province did not stop sabotaging development projects, he would stop supporting the area and instead invest in Northern Province where people overwhelmingly voted for him.
But in a statement, Sunday, Miti condemned President Lungu’s remarks.
“President Lungu is a Lethal Tribalist. There is a lot worrying about the Lungu Presidency but what troubles me the most about this President is his deep-seated tribal hatred of a whole section of this country. Even more disturbing is how that hatred seems to bubble to the surface at the slightest provocation. He is like a step-parent (especially one whose marriage happened in less than celebrated circumstances) who is always ready to see the worst in and over punish a child whose very existence represents a rival s/he hates. Deliberately, or because he cannot control himself – not sure which, President Lungu has used his office and allowed those around him to systematically ratchet up tribalism in a country that was well past tribal sentiment. I am not sure what came first – EL’s obssessive hatred of his rival HH or his hatred of the Tonga and, by extension, their tribal cousins,” stated Miti.
“Whatever the case, the President needs to understand that his tribalism is the kind which has plunged countries into civil unrest. I will end by asking the President a question – how does some vandal choosing to criminally cut down a ZESCO pole become a reflection on his whole DNA, his ancestors, his province? If that pole had been cut down in Katete or Mpika, what would you have said? Would you have commented at all? No, President Lungu, restrict your politcal battle to HH. Leave the Tonga alone! Bacula pafula (they have suffered enough)!”
And speaking when he called News Diggers to complain about the same remarks, Kang’ombe wondered which Sangoma the President consulted for him to make that conclusion.
“President Lungu should be advised. Like the same way people were saying he is a drunkard, he can’t be president. He is a president now, even when he is a drunkard and we respect the will of God. The same way people were despising him that he cannot be the president, is the same way HH is going to be the president of this country. How does he expect HH to treat him when he comes into power? That is the question Edgar Lungu should ask himself now. Having made a declaration I don’t know which sangoma or prophet he has consulted from,” Kang’ombe said.
“Leadership comes from God and all of us have got a script that he has written for all mankind. Ours is just to play along to the script that has been written and pre-determined by God. Is the Head of State God to make that statement? Let him talk about developmental issues. We want to hear him giving powers to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), to the police to act on the Financial Intelligence Report (FIC) that is what the people of Zambia want to hear,”
He wondered whether President Lungu’s commitment to dialogue with Hichilema was genuine.
“President Edgar Lungu made a declaration that he is ready to face and dialogue with HH. How does he expect to dialogue with someone he has insulted in public that he is never going to rule this country? What does he want to talk to him about? To tell him that he will never rule this country,” asked Kang’ombe.
“It is the duty of the government to take development to all parts of the country. We are all Zambians we deserve a fair share of the national cake. He was in Southern Province where a drought spell has hit the people 100 per cent. We expected to hear him declaring the state of hunger in Western Province, Central, Lusaka, Eastern and part of Northern Province.”
And in a statement shared on his Facebook page, Hichilema said he was not surprised by the remarks, adding that it was only God who could decide who should lead.
“We have taken note of the extremely embarrassing and divisive statements uttered by Mr. Edgar Lungu in the video that has now gone viral on social media. We are not particularly surprised because we know that’s what Edgar Lungu has always been. His true nature keeps coming up especially at a time government is spending huge amounts of money sending the so-called messeges of national unity. That’s hypocrisy of the highest order,” wrote Hichilema.
“The country is faced with serious challenges, in terms of massive hunger, escalating mealie meal prices, joblessness among youth and the women, debt burden, load sheding, corruption, and basically everything falling apart, yet we have someone in the position as that of Edgar Lungu being reckless, and assuming the position of almighty God in deciding who should be the next leader of our great country and of all things based on one’s ethnicity. Please fellow citizens, let’s reclaim our country for once and get united for the common good regardless of our political, religious, tribe, gender and other affiliations.”