We have noted with regret that there is an attempt by the Patriotic Front government to sanctify tribalism and label those who question their regional politics as “tribalists” themselves.
The PF leadership has been fueling a notion that the people of Southern Province are tribalists and that if the United Party for National Development (UPND), which is headed by a Tonga ascends to power, this country would be divided. They want people to believe that if a Tonga becomes president, government jobs would be shared among Tongas and probably Lozis.
Last time when we stated that Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s presidency would be a game changer because of his tribe, we were condemned and accused of pushing a pro-UPND tribal agenda. Citizens who read our editorial opinion “God has heard your petition Mr HH, now move on” expressed mixed fillings about the tribal element in our comment.
We noted that readers felt that much as our opinion delivered good advice to the opposition leader, there was no need for Joseph MWENDA (our Editor-In-Chief) to write that, “if Mr Hichilema was elected President, it would teach Easterners and Northerners to respect other tribes better”.
This is what the PF has been doing. They have made the tribalism of President Edgar Lungu so sacred that no one is allowed to discuss it. Under the Patriotic Front, people are not allowed to discuss the tribal injustices that have befallen the Tongas. If you are from Southern Province, tribe is a no go area for discussion.
Maybe before proceeding to show how the PF has cursed the people of Southern Province, we must explain where our Editor-In-Chief comes from and to which ethnic group he belongs – even though he does not write News Diggers! editorial opinions alone.
Joseph Mwenda was born in Petauke at Petauke District Hospital. His father hails from Nyonyo village in Chief Mwanjabanthu’s area, while his mother comes from Kapenda village of Chief Kalindawalo. Mwenda actually does have members of his extended family living in Mkwama and neighbouring Simambumbu village of Petauke where President Edgar Chagwa Lungu claims to come from. He was raised and attended secondary school within Eastern Province.
Mwenda has never lived in Southern Province and does not know how to speak Tonga. Whatever he knows about Southern Province and the lifestyle of the Tonga people, is by way of visiting the region, in the line of his journalistic duty, and his interaction with the natives there.
So, condemning the victimisation of Southerners and the tribalism in the PF government has nothing to do with where Mwenda comes from, because as shown above, Mwenda could easily be a relative of President Lungu and not Mr Hichilema.
That clarified; let the Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga now explain why her government hates the people of Southern Province so much. What is it that they did to President Lungu or to Zambia that her government cannot forgive?
It cannot be that since Mr Hichilema is the biggest threat to President Lungu’s stay in power, then every Tonga is, by default a member of the opposition. That is impossible. There are Tongas who don’t support UPND because they think HH is a bad leader, they have elected to support President Lungu and PF. Are you going to continue denying them jobs because of their surnames?
When we observed last time that President Lungu’s Cabinet does not have a single representative from Southern Province but has three Cabinet ministers from one (Chipata) district, the PF said we were being tribal. But President Lungu gave 30 Cabinet jobs to 30 members of parliament (eight of them nominated) and could not find anywhere where a Tonga could fit in. How heartless is that? Does our Head of State understand how terrifying it is for the people of Southern Province remaining in this government? They can’t sleep; when they go to the office and find a letter on the table they start praying before opening it.
This week, government appointed new Board members for two national newspapers namely Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail. Look at the surnames of the people who have been given these parastatal jobs.
1. Godfrey Simukoko.
Times of Zambia.
Even our good friend Nakiwe Simpungwe who is running the PF sponsored Smart Eagles Facebook page has landed herself a real job to serve on the Times of Zambia board. Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting could not find anyone qualified enough outside the Eastern and Northern block, to serve on these quasi-government Boards. No names from Southern Province, Western, North Western or even Central. Fifteen jobs shared between two ‘superior’ Provinces.
This is what the PF under President Lungu is doing to our country. Under this government, you are cursed if you were born a Tonga or indeed any other tribe outside the PF preferred regions. But is this not fueling tribal hatred among the citizens of this country?
Countrymen and women, we are being governed by dangerous tribalists who must be stopped. This style of leadership is wrong and every well meaning Zambian must fight it in whatever way they can. We are throwing this challenge at every citizen, especially those who hail from the North and East. Let them stand up and say, “We don’t support this regionalism”.
In South Africa it took some white sympathisers who saw something wrong with the system to defeat the Apartheid regime.
This is not about Mr Hichilema, President Lungu or a journalist called Mwenda, it is about Zambia and the manner in which the people managing our affairs are sharing the national chikanda (since there is no cake left).
We must not be afraid to ask questions whenever we notice representational imbalance and regionalism in our government. They will label you tribalist for asking, but staying quiet will grant them courage to perpetuate the trend, which is recipe for genocide.
Tribalism will not end in Zambia unless people feel uncomfortable being associated with those who are pushing tribal politics, be it UPND, PF or NDC. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t mind the people of Northern and Eastern Provinces getting government jobs, but that cannot be at the total exclusion of other regions.
Anyway, we would like to end by congratulating Mr Goodwell LUNGU for landing a diplomatic job as deputy High Commissioner to Botswana. We were wondering where the former Transparency International Executive Director had disappeared to with his silence, only to learn that he had been looking for a very transparent job in the PF government. Anyway, it is well and good Mr Goodwell. Kaili ifintu ni LUNGU!