TRIBAL talk and hate speech must be banished in Zambia because the vices have the potential to degenerate into ethnic violence, President Edgar Lungu has said.
He said Zambia’s peace was being threatened by hate speech and tribalism and that the vices must not be allowed to dominate Zambia’s political discourse.
President Lungu said if it were possible, he would have loved that hate speech and tribal talk that had characterized the country’s political discourse could be traded with messages of love and hope.
The President said the 1994 Rwandan genocide should still remain an example of what would become of a country if citizens carelessly engaged in hate speech and tribal talk.
President Lungu was speaking to journalists at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport shortly before departure for Namibia to attend the C-10 heads of State meeting.
Asked to comment on the lack of peace and political instability in the Great Lakes region, President Lungu responded: “No, we need peace here in Zambia. Tribal talk must be banished. Hate speech must be banished. If possible we should trade against tribal talk and hate speech…this is how Rwanda found itself in problems.”
And Patriotic Front (PF) deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya said President Lungu has directed party members particularly senior officials of the ruling party to immediately stop commenting on tribalism and hate speech.
Fr Bwalya said President Lungu had expressed deep concern that in the recent past some senior members had been making comments on tribalism and their statements were being misconstrued by other citizens.
He said the President had observed that any comment on tribe by members of the PF has sparked tribal talk and it was therefore important that senior members of the ruling party completely stopped making comments on tribe.
“President Lungu has directed PF members particularly senior members to immediately stop making comments on tribalism. In the recent past, any comment on tribe has been misconstrued to mean tribalism and President Lungu has made it clear that we should stop making comments on the vice.
‘‘Some of our members have made comments on tribe and their statements have been grossly misunderstood,” Fr Bwalya said.
President Lungu is in Namibia for the C-10 heads of State meeting whose agenda was to discuss the transformation of the United Security Council and the call for Africa to have a permanent seat on the council.
President Lungu said Africa was part of the United Nations but the continent was regrettably not part of the decision-making process on matters affecting the continent and other parts of the world.
President Lungu said Africa was feeling left out and that was why the leaders in the C-10 were meeting to discuss the matter.