THE defeat Hakainde Hichilema has been suffering in his effort to win the republican presidency and govern the country should never be attributed to a rejection of Tongas because the people of Southern Province do not believe in tribalism, Brebner Changala has said.
Mr Changala said the loss the UPND suffered at the hands of the Patriotic Front (PF) and President Edgar Lungu was not a defeat for any single tribe in Zambia but a necessary evil of democracy.
Mr Changala, the civil rights activist, said the miscued belief that there was a feud between the people in the Northern and Southern Province was utterly untrue.
He said in an interview that only political demagogues were peddling innuendoes that Zambia had been divided into two with the people in North and the East voting for the PF while those in the South and West were voting for the UPND.
He explained the UPND was a mass political organisation which had a following across the country and it was, therefore, politically incorrect for Mr Hichilema to impute that Tongas were being rejected and denied leadership of taking over the governance of the country.
“The loss of Mr Hichilema and the UPND is not a loss of any tribe as is being peddled or believed. Mr Hichilema must dispense with the notion that he has been losing the presidency because he is Tonga but must accept the reality that it is the necessary evil of democracy. It is politically not correct for Mr Hichilema to impute that Zambians are rejecting his presidential candidature because he is Tonga and let him know that leadership comes at the right time. If it is not his time to take over the presidency of the country, he should not attribute his loss to being a Tonga,” Mr Changala said.
Mr Changala, however, said it was a pity that the majority of Mr Hichilema’s supporters and sympathisers were drawn from the South and the West.
He stated that the defeat Mr Hichilema had suffered from was based on the desire by Zambia to vote for continuity and development and not on the misplaced perception that the UPND leader was a Tonga.
“Mr Hichilema’s defeat had nothing to do with the UPND leader being Tonga or President Lungu being Ngoni. But these are some of the hazards of democracy. There have been intermarriages and we have Tongas married to Bembas and Ngonis to Kaondes and this is a mark and true character of the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ motto. So it will not help the doomsayers that Mr Hichilema lost the presidency because he is Tonga,” Mr Changala said.
He said Mr Hichilema had been joined by influential politicians such as Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Miles Sampa, Nevers Mumba and Richard Kachingwe who were all Bemba’s and that the loss of the UPND was equally the loss of the Bembas,” Mr Changala said.