Tribal politics

Sat, 04 Feb 2017 10:39:46 +0000

The physical assault occasioned on prominent Patriotic Front (PF) members during the funeral of prominent Lusaka businessman Reeves Malambo reinforces the notion that the UPND is a tribal party.

 It is totally unacceptable, certainly un-Zambian, inhuman and a serious political blunder to turn a funeral into a political forum at which pent up retribution is exacted.

Violence has no place in modern politics. It is archaic and a sign of political insecurity, appealing to base instincts of human nature-fear.

No political goals will be achieved by brute force. Only the power of reason and persuasion will win sympathy and support while violence estranges and repulses the many men and women who believe in civilized dialogue that is based on issues.

It is particularly heinous that that those who were attacked at Malambo’s funeral were accused of being traitor for belonging to the PF as they were Tonga.

This brings to the fore the problem that the UPND must deal with if it is to attract meaningful support from other regions of the country. The brutalization of Tongas by fellow Tongas for  associating  with other tribes, raises very troubling questions.

It is counterintuitive and certainly a fallacy that a party that seeks to attract national support should subject political opponents to physical violence on tribal grounds. Brian Hapunda, like other PF members who were assaulted at the funeral were targeted for being Tonga.

This reinforces the notion that UPND is a Tonga party. This would be the only logical justification for the brutal attack against Hapunda, Moonga and the other prominent Tonga PF members who attended Malambo’s funeral.

The truth of the matter is that every Zambian enjoys a guaranteed right to freedom of conscience and association. This means that Tribe should have no place in the determination of political affiliation which must be determined by a cogent choice based on public policy determination.

The truth is that Hapunda is a Zambian first, of Tonga extraction and finally a member of the Patriotic Front in that order. As a citizen of this country he has every right to belong to a party of his choice. It is not a sin for him to belong to the PF.

There is no doubt that the scourge of tribal politics is perpetuated by Zambia’s political elite to gain, sustain and consolidate power. It has nothing to do with the wellbeing of the greater majority of Zambians whose interest is to elect a Government that will provide for them regardless of the tribal origin of the leaders.

Sadly what happened in Southern Province yesterday will perpetuate the evil notion and counterproductive regionalization of politics, meaning that our elections will not be based on public policy but on ethnic consideration.

This means that elections will serve as “ethnic census” in which preponderance in tribal numbers will determine the outcome rather than in the ability of the candidates.

There is no doubt that the UPND garnered considerable support from other regions of Zambia because of the progressive message that was preached by its leader Hakainde Hichilema, but it is such brutal attacks as happened yesterday that will undermine that support.


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