PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu and United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema have a “balanced code” in condemning tribalism and other challenges the country is going through, Edward Mumbi says.
The former Patriotic Front secretary general and Hakainde Hichilema’s special advisor said the two leaders should therefore work together to defuse the tension that has arisen as a result of “careless and offensive statements” by some PF leaders against the people of Southern Province.
Mr Mumbi said it was disheartening and unfortunate that President Lungu had become a victim of endless verbal attacks over statements that did not come from him and should therefore take action against PF secretary general Davis Chama for having caused acrimony between the people of Southern Province and Government.
Mr Mumbi, who is special assistant (special duties) to Mr Hichilema, told the Daily Nation that the assertion by President Lungu that Mr Hichilema detested tribalism should enhance the relationship between the two leaders in working together in resolving the national challenges such as the current load shedding and the impasse at the Copperbelt University.
He said President Lungu had shown magnanimity in his leadership by acknowledging the stance Mr Hichilema had taken in condemning tribalism which he said was a non-issue as the country was beset by many social and economic challenges. He said President Lungu had shown wisdom by calling for peace and unity in the country and advised that the Head of State should not be seen to be protecting his employees who were making his leadership look bad in the eyes of Zambians.
Mr Mumbi said the UPND was happy that President Lungu had acknowledged that Mr Hichilema was against tribalism and had not supported any vice that had the potential to divide the country and disturb the peace.
“It is encouraging that President Lungu has acknowledged that Mr Hichilema has been against tribalism and detests any vice that would divide the country. President Lungu has demonstrated that he understands the values of sharing challenges in politics and the two leaders can work together to defuse the tension that has been created as a result of careless and offensive statements from his secretary general Davis Chama.
“What is unfortunate is that the careless and offensive statements are not coming from President Lungu but he is the one getting the bashing from people. When one has made a mistake and people complain, the President should not be seen to be protecting them but should remove them for the sake of peace and unity,” Mr Mumbi said.
Mr Mumbi said the tribal talk was sparked by Mr Chama and that the people of Southern Province were not complaining against President Lungu but against his employees in the PF who had found pleasure in verbally abusing other Zambians.
He said there was nothing wrong with the people of Southern Province calling for a meeting to discuss whether they should support President Lungu or not after Mr Chama’s offensive and tribal statement.
He advised Mr Chama to humble himself and apologise to the people of Southern Province, stating that it was wiser for the PF secretary general to realise his folly of demeaning other regions.