The Human Rights Commission has condemned the continued tribal remarks being uttered by some PF members.
And the HRC says the PF will leave a legacy of having divided the nation using tribe.
Over the weekend during a campaign in Kapiri Mposhi organised by Kabushi member of parliament and chairperson of the PF Mobilisation Committee Bowman Lusambo, a PF member accused UPND president Hakainde Hichilema of refusing to work with President Edgar Lungu and that the opposition leader wanted to turn the country into a Tonga state.
In an interview, HRC spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya noted with concern the continued tribal remarks being uttered by mainly PF officials and advised that such tendencies must end for the sake of unity.
“Basically it is a worrying trend that it seems tribal talk and related hated speech targeting specific ethic groups seems to be a well-designed political strategy for dividing the people along regional lines for political expediency. That is a dangerous strategy because it divides families, communities, and it stirs up animosity between various ethnic groups. The Constitution of Zambia states that Zambia is a democratic, multi-party, multi ethnic grouping. So any attempt aimed at creating tribal hostility or hatred is primarily a violation of the Constitution and also a violation of human rights. The principle of equality and non-discrimination, including discriminations based on one tribe, place of origin, is absolutely prohibited. It is a crime against humanity. It is not a choice that people are born who they are, it is a birth right to belong to an ethnic grouping. It’s a birth right which must be respected particularly by those in authority or ruling party,” Muleya said.
”Regrettably, those sentiments have been consistently coming from members of the ruling party. There is a pattern which has been established that seems to have been a well-orchestrated campaign message. It is deeply regrettable because it does not speak to the national unity, the national peace, national stability that Zambia is well known for. Many families are a product of inter-marriages amongst various tribal groupings. It is a deep sense of injury that you would be picking two tribes, for instance against each other when you know that within that family, whether a father or a mother, belong to those different families, you are hurting the family. It is really something that is not appreciated in this country.”
He said it was unfortunate that the current government was trying to leave a legacy of dividing the nation.
“As a result of that tribal talk, some people have lost jobs based on their ethnic identity, others are deprived of social economic opportunities based on their tribal identity. Now tribe should not be determining one’s success or failure or participation or acceptance. It is deeply regrettable that for political expediency, politicians would embark on a cause of dividing the people of Zambia along tribal lines and that requires magnanimity of a higher leadership position. The legacy of this government should not be a legacy of dividing the people along tribal lines. We should be learning lessons; America is grappling with improving racial relationships; now here, we are working seriously towards dividing people along tribal lines. That is not good for democracy, social cohesion and development of this country,” said Muleya.
”It is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly because it is a constitutional issue, it is an issue that goes to the core of humanity. When you start injuring people based on their human identity, the repercussions are too deep-rooted, that it may not take easier efforts to restore such relationships. Politicians should not play around with inferiority complex. We need a leadership that will stop…you may not, for instance, at every occasion of talking about politics, to be specific you can talk about HH without talking about Tongas. You cannot drag the entire tribe into the political arena just because one individual belonging to that tribe is seeking office. You cannot attack the whole tribe on account of strategy to demonise any individual who belongs to that tribe, that is unreasonable, that is unjustifiable! That is unfair and it should not be allowed. Let the politicians talk about their political opponents without dragging tribes along . We know that what they are trying to do is to harvest tribal support along those messages and that is deeply regrettable.”