People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda has advised President Edgar Lungu to verify facts before issuing statements that have the potential to promote tribalism in Zambia.

Last Saturday, President Lungu described as economic sabotage the vandalism that took place on an electricity pole in the Macha area of Southern Province and added that a Tonga would one day rule the country, but not Hakainde Hichilema.

Commenting on these remarks, Banda noted that the fact that the vandalism happened in Southern Province did not in any way make it economic sabotage.

“That comment is very unfortunate, and it is tantamount to tribalism because the President should have first investigated the issue before issuing any statement. Why does it have anything to do with tribe? Because Southern Province is a stronghold of the UPND and the president of the UPND is Tonga does not mean that that issue (the vandalism) was economic sabotage. The President, who has a big support structure, should have actually first waited for a report from the security wings and he should have issued a statement likewise. So, for us, the President acted prematurely to actually issue such statements because they are baseless and there is no evidence that they had anything to do with tribe,” Banda said in an interview.

He wondered why other acts of vandalism in other parts of the country, including in PF strongholds, were not labelled as economic sabotage.

“We actually saw a lot of such things [vandalism] happening outside Southern Province, like City Market was burnt and we had a market burnt in Kabushi (Ndola), and such statements of tribalism were not issued and these were PF strongholds. So, why is that when it happens in a place like Southern Province, it should have anything to do with tribalism, it doesn’t make sense! So, the President’s statements were baseless and they had no facts in them,” said Banda.