CHAPTER One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde has condemned Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya’s attempt to ignite unwarranted tribal tension as part of the political agenda, saying her utterances are reminiscent of the Rwanda genocide.

But PF media director Sunday Chanda says the UPND should not play victim of tribalism because they are the “high priests of tribalism”.

In a statement, Kasonde urged citizens to refrain from hate and tribal statements as such statements had potential to cause violence and chaos.

“This unfortunate language is very reminiscent of the propaganda used in the run up to the Rwanda genocide. Sadly, there appears to be a pattern of tribalist language in the conduct of political party campaigns. Chapter One Foundation condemns attempts to ignite unwarranted tribal tensions as part of a political agenda. As a member of the executive, Honourable Siliya should encourage national unity. Furthermore, Chapter One Foundation believes that the comments made by the Honourable Siliya go against Zambia’s national values and principles of unity and collaboration not only encouraged by our forefathers, but cemented by our Constitution under Article 60 (3) (a) which states that: “A political party shall not— (a) be founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, tribal, gender, sectoral or provincial basis or engage in propaganda based on any of these factors,” Kasonde stated.

And Kasonde appealed to all government officials, opposition parties, and private citizens to denounce tribal political propaganda and instead promote issue-based campaigns.

“One Zambia, One Nation,’ the famous proclamation by the First Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda, was created to stress and encourage the unity and collaboration of the diverse Zambian people. For Zambians to maintain the spirit of unity, peace and freedom in the country, we must refrain from messaging that has the potential to incite tribalism, hostility, and even violence. Chapter One Foundation calls on all government officials, opposition parties, and private citizens to denounce tribal political propaganda. We call on political party representatives to promote issue-based campaigns rather than denigrate and disparage others. The Zambia we want is united, proud, and free,” she stated.

But Chanda, in a separate statement, argued that the UPND should not play victim of tribalism because they were tribal to the core.

“UPND are the high priests of tribalism and regionalism in Zambia, who cannot turn around to play victim today. Zambians have not forgotten the levels of tribalism and regionalism that paved the way for Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s ascendancy to the leadership of UPND. It was said that only a person of Mr Anderson Mazoka’s tribe could succeed him and that person was the current UPND leader. There has been no condemnation of that notorious agenda to this day. Have Zambians forgotten how Mr Sakwiba Sikota and others were hounded out of the UPND presidential race because they belonged to a tribe different from that of UPND’s founding leader late Anderson Mazoka?” Chanda asked.

“Have Zambians have forgotten how elderly statesman Dr Vernon Mwaanga was beaten during Mr Mazoka’s funeral by UPND on account of him siding with late president Levy Mwanawasa and not his tribesman? Have Zambians forgotten how late Daniel Munkombwe publicly announced that, ‘time had come for his tribe to rule’ and this was in the presence of the UPND leader Mr Hichilema? Where was Mr Hichilema’s condemnation when all this was happening right under his nose? If the process that saw the UPND leader succeed the late Mazoka, then it is only fair to state that the product was and still remains a beneficiary of UPND’s inherent tribalism.”

Chanda charged that the UPND sought to “hide behind an honourable tribe” to advance its agenda.

“Zambians, including many from the South, have refused to be used by the UPND. Not all Tongas support UPND’s tribalism and regionalism. It is UPND that seeks to hide behind an honourable tribe to advance its agenda. Patriotic Front refuses to drink from UPND’s cup of tribalism and regionalism. On the contrary, PF remains committed to uniting Zambia beyond and above tribes. Its support base is drawn from all regions and remains committed to this ideal to this day. There is no room for tribalism and regionalism in the party as that is at variance with its cherished ideals. Therefore, anything with a semblance of tribalism is a misrepresentation of PF’s ideals and does not reflect what the ruling party stands for,” stated Chanda.