The Patriotic Front leadership has acted against its officials that featured on a radio program and spewed discourse deemed tribal targeting the opposition UPND. The government has also swung into action and suspended the licence of Lutanda Radio, a platform on which the tribalist rhetoric was disseminated.
If the country is looking to a political organization that means zero tolerance to tribalism, then look no further as the PF has provided the answer. They have shown decisive leadership. Soon after PF officials in Northern Province Abraham Mulenga and John Sampa issued disparaging remarks against Tonga-speaking people and the UPND, the PF leadership acted.
Northern Province Minister Lazarous Chungu cautioned officials against such rhetoric and ensured Mulenga and Sampa were subjected to disciplinary action of the ruling party. There is no doubt the PF acted magnanimously on this.
Granted tribalism is cancer in the Zambian but how it is dealt with when it rears its ugly face is vital. It’s unfortunate that some rogue PF voices, whose credentials as senior provincial officials is still under scrutiny, would fall in the same lane to traffic in the same tribalistic rhetoric as some opposition voices have these last few months.
For instance, the UPND believes only a Tonga can lead their party. This is strengthened in the set-up of their party structures in Southern Province. Their representatives in parliament from Southern Province are all Tonga. It’s unthinkable that the adoption process ignores those whose last names come from other regions to contest parliamentary positions in the region.
Suffice to state that two wrongs don’t make a right. If the opposition practices tribalism, it should not be the case with the ruling party and this is why it is impressive that the leadership of the PF is taking no chance about the derogatory remarks by officials linked to them directed at the UPND and its leader Hakainde Hichilema.
President Lungu and his leadership are demonstrating that it remains imperative that all political aspirants and their supporters turn their attention to policy-oriented discussions, debates, commendations and criticisms.
Hichilema must and should take a leaf from this.
And yes, that’s the right path to take. President Lungu even took time to visit Southern Province’s Dundumwezi, a region that wholesomely rejected him in previous elections, all because he was not from the same region as their candidate in the UPND.
Nothing good can come of tribalism, and it must be stamped out before the 2021 campaigns heat up. President Lungu is already leading by example. Today, Dundumwezi is electrified for the first time since independence from British colonial rule.
Rather than focus on the achievements of the Patriotic Front, the UPND and others are taking to the airwaves to portray development project as unnecessary. Clearly, the opposition are determined to disturb the peace and destroy the efforts of the ruling party.
There are massive efforts to make the lives of Zambians better. Upgrades of urban roads, strengthening of bridges, initiating the liquidation of KCM, halting Kangaluwi mine project in Lower Zambezi, attracting investment from the United States, India and Japan have all been on the table and have been actualized by President Lungu’s agenda.
Finance minister Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu’s austerity measures and the invitation of the IMF that was recently in the country as well as the widely celebrated climate action agenda which seeks to tackle the electricity deficit by reducing dependence on hydropower to solar and other sources of energy are driving President Lungu and the PF’s agenda.
Yet, Hichilema and other opposition leaders some of whom now only oppose the Head of State for personal reasons as their business deals are no longer forthcoming do not see anything in these efforts. It’s a pure attempt by the opposition to make a living by distracting the Zambian audiences.
Elections are around the corner, a little under 24 months from today although campaigns are in high gear, but President Lungu is focused on giving Zambians a good and comfortable life. It may not have been all rosy especially after the electricity crisis crept in. Zambians know that the President is working round the clock and some of the natural challenges are being tackled with the precision they require.
The opposition would do well to join forces with President Lungu and work towards delivering for the people as opposed to posturing with rhetorical theories that fall short of any practical implementation.