PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Edgar Lungu has rubbished assertions of tribalism after former president Rupiah Banda endorsed him as the preferred candidate for this month’s presidential election.
Addressing a rally in Nyimba yesterday, Mr Lungu described his political opponents asserting that his endorsement by Mr Banda was tribally inclined as enemies of peace, unity and the country’s motto of One Zambia One Nation.
Mr Lungu said it should be understood that those accusing them of tribalism first endorsed themselves as tribesmates but nobody called it that.
“We are not a tribal party which is why they picked on me a Nsenga to take over the presidency from a Bemba,” Mr Lungu said.
Mr Lungu said it was hypocritical for the opposition political parties to accuse former president Rupiah Banda of tribalism for supporting him in the presidential election when similar tribal endorsements in other political parties were not criticised.
He said when those accusing him and Mr Banda of tribalism endorsed their tribesmen as preferred presidential candidates, nobody called them tribalists.
Mr Lungu said it should be understood that those accusing Mr Banda and himself of tribalism first endorsed themselves as tribe’s mates.
He said there was no room for tribalism in Zambia and those propagating regional politics must be rejected because they could easily divide the country on ethnic lines.
“We are not a tribal party that is why they picked on me, a Nsenga to take over the presidency from a Bemba,” he said.
Mr Lungu said this was the reason why the PF members picked on him to become party president after the death of President Michael Sata. Mr Lungu said he gave up the Acting Presidency out of his own wisdom, to protect the country’s peace and unity.
He said with all that confusion that ravaged the party after the death of President Sata, his ascendance to the party presidency has brought stability and growth to the PF.
“It is God who chooses leaders through the people. You people (PF) chose me to be a president, and us the people should take up the responsibility and help take this country forward,” Mr Lungu said. He said he used the wisdom of Solomon to hand over power which eventually gave him the party leadership and Republican President from January 20.