FORMER HEALTH MINISTER DR JONAS CHANDA COUNSELS POLITICIANS
Dr CHANDA WRITES……
CARELESS TALK BY POLITICAL LEADERS CAN SET ZAMBIA ON FIRE
Lusaka, Zambia. 8th November 2021
On his arrival from the COP 26 Climate Summit in Scotland, President Hakainde Hichilema in response to a question on tribalism in those being reinstated into the public service jobs, talked about the “Clique of Thieves” and “Hegemonists” who have fed-off the country’s resources since independence.
This statement has been interpreted by many citizens as referencing to the previous six administrations of Presidents Kenneth Kaunda (UNIP), Frederick Chiluba (MMD), Levy Mwanawasa (MMD), Rupiah Banda (MMD), Michael Sata (PF) and Edgar Lungu (PF), and has caused a raging storm. Most senior UPND government officials today such as Vice President Mutale Nalumango, Silvia Masebo, Situmbeko Musokotwane, Felix Mutati, Elijah Muchima and many others have in fact served in these previous governments.
The President is both Head of State and Head of Government, and as leader of the country he is Citizen Number One, the “First among Equals.” His choice words do matter a lot because any statement made by a President in public becomes official, whether made “off-the-cuff” or “shot-from-the-hip.” These words must never be a subject of English language interpretation or grammar. Words from political leaders, more so the President, have huge implications, because when taken at face value they can set into motion untold chaos in any nation.
Zambia will always remain ONE INDIVISIBLE COUNTRY no matter which political party forms government because Zambia is bigger than any political party or individual, and Zambia will outlive any President or political party. We must all realize that there is no Tonga-Zambia, Bemba-Zambia, Lozi-Zambia, Kaonde-Zambia or Nyanja-Zambia. There is only ONE ZAMBIA, ONE NATION. There is no 2.8 million Zambia vs 1.8 million Zambia. There is only ONE ZAMBIA, ONE NATION. And the President’s chief duty is to be the “Uniter-In-Chief”, not the “Divider-In-Chief.” Once the country’s peace and unity are lost, all socioeconomic gains will be lost.
The “ONE ZAMBIA, ONE NATION” motto espoused by our founding fathers and mothers has largely kept Zambia in unity and peace since independence despite changing governments democratically a number of times.
There are countless examples of countries where careless statements by politicians have led to ethnic conflicts, civil wars and even genocide and secessionist attempts which have torn countries apart. Divisive statements by political leaders in NAZI Germany, Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, DR Congo, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Balkans and many others have led to break up of some of these countries and the loss of millions of innocent lives.
I appeal to the President and all politicians, whether in the ruling or opposition parties, to desist from making divisive statements because Zambians want UNITY and PEACE, not DIVISION and CHAOS. What Zambia needs today are issued based politics focused on development, and the UPND government should focus on fulfilling their many campaign promises to Zambians because that is the basis for which they won elections, and performance on these promises is what the voters will judge them for in 2026.
Hon Dr Jonas Chanda,
PF Member of the Central Committee
Former MP, Minister of Health, Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection