THE Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said that tribalism should not have any space in the political discourse of the country and has chastised Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili for allegedly disparaging the electorate in some Province.
LAZ president George Chisanga said the association on numerous occasions had advised political leaders in the governance of the country to eschew all manner of ill talk and hate speech which were indicative of tribalism.
Mr Chisanga said the rights and dignity of all citizens should be maintained and respected by Government whose functionaries and officials were sworn to the constitutional duty of protecting all citizens regardless of their political persuasion or tribal origins.
He said in a statement yesterday that tribalism could only sow seeds of hatred and violence, the vices he said was at odds with the Christian ethos of the country but also with the need to recognize basic human rights.
Mr Chisanga said President Edgar Lungu was on record of having appealed to Zambians to join him in the fight against tribalism, regionalism and their offshoots such as hate speech which were being given prominence on social media, some Government Ministers such as Mr Kambwili were issuing tribal remarks against selected tribes.
“The Law Association of Zambia strongly condemns the recent tribal remarks attributed to two Cabinet ministers namely Chishimba Kambwili for Information and Broadcasting and Alexander Chikwanda, the Minister of Finance. The tribal remarks attributed to the two Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament are not only misplaced but are extremely unfortunate in a country that is democratic and home to numerous tribal groupings forming one sovereign unitary State,” Mr Chisanga said.
He said Article 23 in the Bill of Rights of the current Constitution protected all Zambians from discrimination on the basis of tribe and that it was the duty of LAZ to offer timely reminder to Mr Kambwili and Mr Chikwanda to avoid the temptation of uttering tribal sentiments against other tribes.
He said if Government was serious about constitutionalism, the rule of law and the respect of human rights and human dignity, leaders should therefore be seen to act in a manner that would benefit all citizens.
“We urge the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Government to desist from making divisive remarks and be patriotic by leading the way in averting ethnic tensions that are beginning to show in our country that is known as a beacon of peace in the whole of Africa,” Mr Chisanga said.