CHIEF Chimbuka of the Bemba people in Chinsali has condemned the continued tribal talk among Zambians and some media houses, warning that those propagating tribalism, ethnicity and regionalism were a danger to the unity and peace of the country.
Chief Chimbuka said politicians should realize that Zambians had remained a united nation because tribe and regionalism had never been part of their way of life.
The traditional leader said he was deeply concerned that last week’s presidential election had exposed how deeply divided the country was and has called on the political leadership to work towards healing and uniting the people.
He told the Daily Nation that it was disheartening that the debate about tribal politics was taking centre stage when Zambians were supposed to remain united and dedicate themselves to development for the common good.
He said it should be understood that the people who voted for President Edgar Lungu did not do so on the basis of tribe and that the people who voted for the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) should not be demonized or mocked because their choice of leadership was not based on ethnicity or regionalism.
Chief Chimbuka said he was angry that there was a section of the media that was demonizing and harassing Zambians who voted for the opposition, stating that in a democracy it was important for citizens to accept divergent views and co-exist.
“I am very worried about talks of tribalism and regionalism in my country. There is a sudden surge of tribal talk that is threatening our peace and co-existence. I am a traditional leader and in my chiefdom, there is nothing like a Tonga or Bemba because they are all my subjects. Let us not divide our country on the basis of tribe because there is a real danger that such tribal emotions can easily cause strife. I am appealing to our political leadership to refrain from dwelling on tribal talk. We are all Zambians and our common goal is to develop our country,” Chief Chimbuka said. He said he was happy that President Lungu had condemned tribalism and was talking about uniting the country, adding that no politician should be allowed to divide the country and its people on the basis of ethnicity.
He advised media houses to structure their editorial content in a manner that did not promote regionalism, stating that Africa still had fresh memories of the millions of lives that had been lost because of ethnic conflicts.
Chief Chimbuka said politics should be a contest to govern and it should never be used to propagate hate messages against other citizens.
He said Zambians must revive their spirit of tolerance which was promoted under the slogan of One Zambia One Nation.