UMODZI Kum’mawa spokesperson Chanoda Ngwira has written an open letter to President Hakainde Hichilema, giving him a list of 12 easterners from which he can choose his new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

But this move has angered some members of the group who feel it validates people’s initial misgivings that Umodzi Kum’mawa was nothing but a tribal grouping.

In the letter, which was dated January 9, 2024, Ngwira suggested that President Hichilema could also send some of the listed individuals into foreign service.

“Dear our Republican President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, Firstly, we as Kum’mawa Development Coalition (KDC) would like to express our gratitude for your efforts in appointing Mr Mike Mposha as Minister of Water Affairs, Mr Mtolo Phiri as Minister of Agriculture, Mr Levy Ngoma as your Political Advisor, and other few individuals from the Eastern Province in significant positions within your administration. We appreciate the gesture of inclusion and representation so far. However, as members of the KUM’MAWA DEVELOPMENT COALITION (UMODZI KUM’MAWA), a group dedicated to promoting development within the Province and speaking for the welfare of our people, we kindly request that you consider appointing more individuals from Eastern Province in your cabinet particularly in light of the current vacancy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as you reshuffle. We believe that UPND Members hailing from Eastern Province, as well as those sympathetic to the party within the Province, should be given the opportunity to serve, provided they possess the necessary credentials just like other Zambians from UPND strongholds,” Ngwira wrote.

“We would like to suggest the following individuals, among others, who we believe would be well-suited for ministerial positions, including within the Foreign Service: 1. Ambassador George K Zulu, 2. Mr. Michael Chunzu 3. Professor Edgar Ngoma, 4. Mr. Lucas Phiri, 5. Mr. Noel Nkhoma, 6. Mr. Johabie Mtonga, 7. Mr. Dawood Mbewe, 7. Colonel Bizwayo Nkunika, 9. Ms Shelly Thole, 10. Major F Kamanga, 11. Ms Angela Chifire, and 12. Mr. Ronald M Daka. We would be honored to collaborate with the Government of the day on developmental projects and work towards the progress of our beloved Province.”

He stated that Umodzi Kum’mawa aimed at strategically advancing development programs fo the people of Eastern Province.

“Kum’mawa Development Coalition (KDC) aims to strategically advance development programs for the people of Eastern Province in the broader context for the modernization of Zambia by advocating and defending for their interests and rights in all sectors. The coalition recognises that the region has abundant natural resources and the local people must always be engaged and prioritised to discover and actualise their full developmental potential just like other Zambians elsewhere,” wrote Ngwira.

But Ngwira received some strong backlash after he shared the letter in the KUM’MAWA DEVELOPMENT COALITION WhatsApp group. The name of this group was only changed after News Diggers criticised their tribal agenda.

Below are some of the comments from some group members whose names we have withheld:

Group member 1: I dont think this is the right approach. We need not start advocating for such appointments. We will be validating what News Diggers alleged we are and this may not sit well with some of the members. Let’s concentrate on our vision devoid of such direct political requests.

Group member 2: Focus has started veering off. That’s the biggest problem, Already, you have started soliciting for jobs for the same kind of people that have FAILED US before. By the way, who was responsible for this list of people to be recommended for appointment or consideration. This is clear desperation. We should stop this letter. This is why others will begin doubting the integrity, purpose of the group. Some of us won’t allow this confusion to use group influence for the selfish few.

Group member 3: This is completely offside by KDC, whoever suggested this idea was offside! There was no need for this!

Group member 4: This is totally non productive?? Who is more easterner than others? [It would be] interesting to know the criteria used too?

Group member 5: Yeah, this is not a good direction family. We are not advocates of who should be appointed by the president from our region but ambassadors of our region’s development that will benefit all easterners. Additionally, we aim to advocate for good governance of the the current government and that to come.
For us to start advocating and name proposing to the appointing authority, it is a total missed call and we are likely to impair our objectivity esp. that we are on record of refuting similar allegations from media and other interested parties. Begging for favors from appointing authority is lost objectivity of our call and self-interest conflicts. We must remain non-beggers and avoid self-interest at all costs if we are to remain united and achieve our intended goals.

Group member 6: Did the interim spokesperson consult the general membership of KDC? If not, on whose behalf did they write this letter?

In response to such comments, Ngwira said the group leadership would come out to address their concerns.

“We hear the concerns and they are very clear. I ask that no matter how much we continue talking, we will not solve anything especially when what we are doing are knee jerk reactions without information and all that..
Why don’t we wait for leadership to come and clarify on this matter…One submission from each of us is enough and I see no reason why people should continue writing things based on emotions and obviously from a point of not knowing why there is this development. Regards consultation, we don’t just issue statements without wide consultation within the leadership and there is no statement that has been brought here for people to approve or disapprove, we have always posted an end product. I wonder where the issue is,” wrote Ngwira.