OPPOSITION attempts to drive a wedge between President Edgar Lungu and the Bemba-speaking people by insinuating that former President Rupiah Banda was running the Government and the party were doomed to fail because all Zambians have seen through the ruse, which was intended to plant a seed of suspicion and disaffection.
According to Fr. Frank Bwalya this effort was bound to fail because the bond of unity transcended politics to mutual respect.
He said there were schemes by the UPND to put a wedge between President Lungu and former president Rupiah Banda because the opposition political party was aware that the combination had wiped out their chances of winning the general elections next year.
Fr Bwalya said Bembas would never fall for the cheap propaganda allegedly being propagated by the UPND and a known online media that the people from the Northern region were angry with the closeness between President Lungu and former president Banda.
He told the Daily Nation from Lundazi yesterday that leaders in President Lungu’s Government who could be identified with Bembas knew that President Lungu was a leader of high integrity and could never alienate any tribal grouping from the governance of the country.
Fr Bwalya said it was uncivilized for any political party to use cheap schemes of creating enmity between the people of Eastern Province and those from the Northern region by peddling falsehoods that former president Banda had taken over the Patriotic Front (PF).
He said stories suggesting that Bembas were not happy with the warm relationship between President Lungu were untrue and only meant to create animosity between the people of Eastern Province and the Northern region who have since time immemorial enjoyed tremendous tribal cousinship.
Fr Bwalya said late president Michael Sata was very close to first president Kenneth Kaunda and that there was no need for President Lungu to adopt an acrimonious and antagonistic attitude towards former president Banda.
He said it was only natural for President Lungu to maintain good relationships with Dr Kaunda and Mr Banda as former leaders because antagonizing the former leaders could easily divide the country.
“Attempts by the UPND and some online publication to alienate Bemba-speaking people from President Lungu will not succeed. Bembas have never fallen for such cheap propaganda and President Lungu has been preaching the One Zambia One Nation motto because he believes in oneness. All stories being peddled that Bemba speaking people are not happy with the closeness between President Lungu and former president Banda are false and only meant to create a wedge between the people of the two regions. Late president Sata was very close to Dr Kaunda and we strongly believe there is no need for President Lungu to adopt an antagonistic and acrimonious attitude towards president Banda,” Fr Bwalya said.
Fr Bwalya said if there were people in the PF who were against president Banda, they should have rejected his support for President Lungu in the last presidential election.
He said the PF celebrated when former president Banda endorsed President Lungu and that the ruling party would continue to cherish his support to the party.
Fr Bwalya said in the PF, all tribes were equal with the same opportunities to realise their political aspirations, adding that Zambians should reject schemes to divide the country on uncivilized tribal talk.
He said no amount of political propaganda would be able to destroy the good and non-political relationship between the Bemba speaking people and the people of Eastern Province.
He explained that the decision by President Lungu to spend time in North-Western Province had nothing to do with sidelining the Bemba-speaking people.
“President Lungu is a leader of the entire country and will not choose one region for development. And for those maligning president Banda, let them know that we have embraced him in the same way we embraced Dr Kaunda and we shall give our former leaders the respect they deserve.’’
Fr Bwalya said the people of Eastern Province and Lundazi in particular had resolved to support the PF because they believed time for the ruling party to govern had come.