The shame of Tonga chiefs

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 14:40:52 +0000

You do not need to have anything in common with PF chairperson for elections Jean Kapata in order to support her.

Truly, chiefs from Southern Province who went to show solidarity over the arrest of UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema were merely his hardcore cadres and ethnic hypocrites who loathe to denounce the UPND leader’s vitriol and invectives against those in authority and in the PF government of the day (“Kapata takes a swipe at South chiefs”, Daily Nation, April 20, 2017).

The shame of Tonga chiefs was the press briefing held at the incarcerated UPND leader’s spacious residence in New Kasama which was from the first been dismissed as a press briefing full of hot air.

But sometimes hot air is just what is needed when chiefs want UPND’s ethnic tendencies hushed up.

Just take a look at the ethnicity of the defence team of the incarcerated UPND leader – it is all Tonga. What about his five co-accused? They are all Tonga.

Amongst the UPND MPs, the leader of the opposition in Parliament is Tonga including the parliamentary chief whip of the opposition, despite having other UPND senior and seasoned MPs in Parliament who represent constituencies in Western and North-Western provinces.

Interestingly, was it by sheer coincidence that the Constitutional Court judge who wanted to extend the UPND presidential election petition hearing to go beyond the constitutionally allowable 14-days window was Tonga?

Has it all been coincidental? Or has it all been choreographed by Hakainde Hichilema?

What are the traditional leaders in Southern Province doing concretely to eradicate this cancer of ethnicity from their subjects and chiefdoms?

The Tonga chiefs should be mindful that ethnicity is a disease of the political elite.

It is the political elite who, in competition for the votes in the election, resort to ethnicity as a tool for discrimination against adversaries.

And they benefit unfairly in the name of the tribe or community through first-time voters’ age-cheating and vote-buying.

They use it as a shield, especially when they commit a crime and have to face the judicial music. But when they are enjoying the ill-gotten loot, there is nothing like the tribe.

Unsurprisingly, the presidential motorcade fiasco in Mongu was caused by UPND political elites using ethnicity to cover up their own 2016 presidential election failings.

Incidentally, UPND politicians take advantage to rabble-rouse in Southern Province, because it is easy for them to ride on ethnicity to get elected.

They just tell would-be voters, ‘you are my tribesmen, you don’t need to check my qualities, whether I am a poor 5-time presidential election loser or not, all you need to remember is that I am from your tribe’.

What is interesting is that most of the serious ethnic conflicts in Southern Province are political. You know they are political because they appear around election time.

Mubanga Luchembe,


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