REGIONALISM and tribalism are vices that have reared their ugly heads in Zambia’s political arena and if they are not going to be curbed, there is a danger that the country can easily degenerate into chaos and disorder, President Edgar Lungu has warned.
And Malawian President Peter Mutarika said Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia had a lot of commonalities in their cultures and that was why the three countries regarded the N’cwala traditional ceremony as a uniting factor among their people.
President Mutarika said it was important for the three countries to safeguard their traditional values which were critical to the social and economic development of their citizens.
Speaking at the N’cwala ceremony at Mtenguleni village in Chipata yesterday, President Lungu cautioned that if regionalism and tribalism were not nipped in the bud at political level, there was a danger that it would eat and erode the fabric of other sectors.
The President said he was deeply concerned that tribalism and regionalism had stretched their roots into the public and civil service and was negatively affecting the smooth and effective delivery of services to Zambians.
He said regionalism and tribalism should never be underestimated as they had the capacity to cause disorder in the country and threaten the peace and unity Zambia had enjoyed since independence.
The Head of State appealed to the traditional leadership in the country to help him fight regionalism which he disclosed was gaining ground especially in public places such as bus stations, markets, schools and hospitals.
President Lungu said his Government acknowledged the fact that tribalism and regionalism had in the past few years been growing but pledged that something was being done to curb the vices so that Zambia could remain a united country despite its diverse ethnic inclinations.
“Regionalism and tribalism are vices that have reared their ugly heads in our political landscape and if we do not arrest it at our political level, there is a danger that it will appear in other sectors of our lives. If we do not curb regionalism and tribalism now, they will hamper our development because they have the capacity to cause chaos and disorder in our country.
‘‘These vices must not be underestimated because they are gaining ground in public places such as markets, bus stations, schools and hospitals. Worse still they have crept into places of work and are negatively affecting service delivery,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said on his part as President, he had started addressing the vice and was promoting the One Zambia One Nation motto by embracing all Zambians regardless of political and regional affiliation in his Government appointments.
He said while it was not possible to appoint every single tribe in his Cabinet, he had ensured that every region including those that had rejected him were part of his administration.
He said traditional leaders must lead the crusade against tribalism and that the Patriotic Front (PF) was not going to use traditional ceremonies for political campaigns but to unite and economically develop the country.