Vice-President Guy Scott has been told to stop promoting tribal divisions in the country because such careless sentiments had the potential of propagating hatred among citizens.
Dr Scott was chastised yesterday for suggesting that a minority tribe from the South of the country was campaigning and insinuating that there would be a by-election in the presidency.
But opposition Members of Parliament mainly from Southern Province have strongly condemned Dr Scott for the very tribal sentiments coming from a white man because concerns about the health of President Sata were not confined to the southern region but was a national matter.
UPND Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu told Dr Scott in Parliament yesterday that racism and tribalism had no place and space in Zambian politics and therefore, the Vice should stop being racist.
But Dr. Scott justified his statement saying he would stand by it and nothing would change his position.
In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday, Dr Scott told the radio station that it was people from a small tribe from Southern Province spreading rumours about the ill-health of President Sata.
Mr. Mwimbu said that it was unacceptable that the Vice President was the one in the forefront of promoting tribal and racial divisions in a country like Zambia by suggesting that people in the Southern Province were a minority.
During the ratification of Attorney General Musa Mwenye and Solicitor General Abraham Mwansa in Parliament on Thursday, Mr. Mwiimbu said Dr. Scott was fomenting racial and tribal divisions in the country.
“We expect the Attorney General to act fairly for the good of this country and we expect the AG to advise certain individual in cabinet who like belittling other tribes like what happened yesterday on BBC, where one individual made aspersions, racial remarks against the people of Southern Province. He indicated that they are a minority tribe, a clique and, that tribe is fomenting resentment in this country, it is that conduct Mr. Speaker that should not be allowed in this country, because if we also rebut those statement we will be offside to say that he is a minority in this country and that individual is not fit to hold the position that he holds,” said Mr. Mwiimbu.
He said there were laws in the country which forbid anyone from fomenting racial and tribal division, saying that the conduct by Dr. Scott was a punishable criminal offence.
“But because we are civil, we shall not say it, Mr. Speaker. We are aware it is a criminal offence in this country for anybody who foments tribal division, it is an offence to create racial divisions in the country. Some person insult others with impunity, we have to stop such garrulous behaviour because it cannot be tolerated,” said Mr. Mwiimbu.
But Dr. Scott said there was need to stop the innuendos going on.
“ I will be happy to be part of the comprehensive team to stop this political campaign where we have seen that some people thought there was going to be a by election so that you can start the offensive kind of things that come in some of these newspapers,” Dr Scott said.
He said it was unfortunate that some MPs were in support of the conduct of the Zambian Watchdog, claiming that the online publication was blood thirsty.
“There is no Parliamentary word used describing the Watchdog, it is a pervert, it is malicious, it is blood thirst, it is fantastical, I have been dying this week at a point of dying, my age and stress because of the medical specialist on the watchdog such that I can even give what you need.
“We get stories from the Watchdog that our President fainted in the plane before he took off and was forced to land down in SA. If we are going to support such newspaper and such type of journalism, then are you not in the campaigns. Having said that I will happily participate and face such things, I am prepared for it,” he said.
And Open Society Foundation executive director Sunday Chanda has condemned Dr. Scott statement maligning the Tonga Speaking people of Southern Province as a minority tribe in Zambia.
Mr. Chanda has questioned Dr. Scott’s logic in describing the Tonga speaking people of Southern Province as a minority grouping.
“What tribe is Dr. Guy Scott? Tribalism is a legacy of colonialism, the white man used to divide and rule and to serve his interests.
Sadly successive generations of Zambians have bought into the imaginary “differences” around tribe,” said Mr. Chanda.