Essay Question: How does tribalism affect national development?
Category 1: Pupils in Grades 10-12
Name: Namweleu Chibesakunda
School: Mary Queen of Peace Secondary
TRIBALISM is the loyalty to a tribe or other social grasp especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group. It can also be defined as a way of thinking or behaving in which people are more loyal to their tribe than to their friends, country or any other social group.
Tribalism in Zambia is politically motivated and it has to some extent affected the development process in many sectors. One of the things that come with tribalism is nepotism. This is when favouritism is shown to the members of the same tribe or family when giving jobs or anything of great value. This kind of favouritism deprives the nation of the right people to occupy the right positions. This is not a good thing for a country because it has the potential to reduce productivity due to employing people who are incompetent.
People who practice tribalism will often offer government negative criticism. This is because they are not in support of the current ruling party and probably the tribe of the President. Such people are not able to offer positive criticism to the government on how to develop the nation. You will find that most of them have good ideas but they will not share them with the government because people in government are from another tribe.
Additionally, tribalism may affect national development in that it becomes a breeding ground for corruption especially among government leaders. They will go to any extent to please members of their tribe despite their corrupt activities. This only brings the nation down due to corrupt practices. Also government leaders who are tribal put the interests of their tribe as priority and not the interest of the nation. They do not look for ways to develop the country, instead they look for ways to strengthen their tribe. This, unfortunately, does not contribute to national development.
Apart from that, tribalism brings about violence amongst members of different tribes. Members of a certain tribe may see themselves more superior than other tribes. They underrate and disregard other tribes. This inevitably creates conflict, thereby endangering the development process. This is not good for the country because civil war is the last thing Zambia needs. Furthermore, the practice of tribalism brings about the formation of political parties based on tribal affiliation and not ideas aimed at improving the country. This stunts development because such political parties are not formed to bring about economic prosperity but to promote tribal dominance.
Another way tribalism affects national development is that the President may begin to spend more time on tribal balancing rather than economic management. However, the President may not be the person promoting tribalism but other people surrounding him or her. As a result he would want to look for ways to stop tribalism and unite the people, thereby neglecting issues concerning the economy.
Tribalism also stunts the nation’s democracy. Little by little, the country becomes less democratic as many people would want to align themselves to a political party seen as their own based on tribe. Some government officials stop listening to the people and make decisions for them which sometimes they are not in support of.
The practice of tribalism also promotes the selective distribution of national resources in the country. This leads to unequal distribution of resources among citizens. This may lead to disunity in the country and national leaders may fail to resolve the conflict which may arise due to unequal distribution of resources.
In my view, tribalism in Zambia is not high but is bound to grow if the people will not fight it and ensure the country is united under the motto of One Zambia, One Nation.