The pre-mediated attack of UPND president Hakainde Hichilema in Kasama must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The violence was as meaningless as it was an indication of sheer recklessness and impunity, especially that the police appeared incapable of stopping the violence, just as they have been unable to arrest the perpetrators of the violence.
It was more reprehensible for the message it has sent; namely that some regions are out of bounds for some political leaders. In this case we can assume that the message being sent is that HH is not welcome in Kasama or Northern Province.
This is disgusting, crass and totally un-acceptable but above all wholly un-Zambian.
This regional and tribal culture of violence is absolutely new to Kasama and the rest of the country. Since Independence there has been no regional discrimination in politics. Leaders have been recognised for what they are and not where they come from.
The most immediate message being extended by the violence, that Kasama or perhaps Northern Province will not accept a leader from anywhere else is totally un-acceptable and we expect that the provincial leadership will speak out and condemn those who engineered and executed the attack.
This is not the Zambia we want. Political leaders must fail because they fail to inspire and not because underhand methods have been used to deny them the platform from which they will be able to expound their view.
Paramount Chief Chitimukulu is a Zambian chief, first and foremost, who happens to lead the Bemba people who are scattered around the country and whose citizens have mixed in marriage and other social relationships with other Zambians from different tribal, regional and ethical groupings- therefore confining him to a geographical group is a total misnomer.
The very fact that Paramount Chief Chitimukulu gave HH an appointment to meet him yesterday testifies to his regal and stately character, he does not see himself secluded to a few zealots who do not understand that the nation is much bigger than the sum total of the different tribal groups.
We derive our importance and significance as a nation, not as a result as a collection of tribal groups, but a collectivity of a people united in a common enterprise of the state of Zambia. That is why we refuse to believe that genuine Bemba’s with the interest of the nation at heart would have organized to harass and beat up HH. Hospitality is part of the Bantu culture and any form, of hostility and aggression against a person who cannot defend himself is unacceptable and cowardly.
The same logic we use for seeking inclusivity in the Lozi Kingdom also applies with the Bemba group.
Therefore, any suggestion that some of the regions of the country are no go areas for some groups of Zambians should be banished with the contempt it deserves.
The most unfortunate part of the violence that took place in Kasama, is the seed and danger it poses in degenerating into a tribal or regional divide.
Badly handled this could be the start of very unpleasant divisions.