The Patriotic Front has challenged United Party for National Development, UPND, leader Hakainde Hichilema to denounce the deeply rooted tribalism in the opposition which was heavily manifested at a recent rally in Choma.
PF Secretary General Davies Chama says Hichilema must demonstrate and distance the party from “only a Tonga can lead UPND” tag that has haunted the leading opposition since 2006.
Below is a statement
The Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary-General Davies Chama has condemned the shameless tribalism being promoted by senior members of the party and urged voters to reject politicians seeking to divide Zambia using this scourge.
Chama says the brazen tribalism that was promoted at the opposition party rally in Livingstone on January 13, is gravely troubling and must be condemned by all well-meaning Zambians.
The Secretary-General says the PF does not accept the cosmetic apologies the UPND campaign manager Dipak Patel has frantically being issuing, because he only casually distanced the party from pronouncements by Munkombwe but neglected to address the equally reckless tribal remarks by Vernon Mwaanga and Patrick Mucheleka.
The tribal remarks by the three men can undermine Zambia’s cherished social cohesion and the entrenched values of co-existence among our people.
“It is shocking that Mr Hichilema accepts this tribalism and promises to use it effectively! In own words, Hichilema says the party will use Munkombwe’s endorsement in a diligent manner. This is dangerous and we challenge him to renounce tribalism instead of embracing it,” Chama said.
The Secretary-General said the proposition by Messrs Mwaanga and Mucheleka that that Zambia should choose leaders on tribal rotation basis rather than merit is outrageous and completely away from established democratic principles upon which our beloved Zambia is built.
“The demand by the UPND that Bembas and other tribes must be excluded from seeking the presidency on grounds of tribe is shocking. This brazen expression of tribalism is difficult to understand. We therefore urge voters to reject politician promoting this ugly scourge. The failure by Mr Hichilema to condemn tribalism confirms our worst fears this is official policy in the UPND.”
The PF is disturbed that people who have served in positions of leadership in cabinet and Parliament can pander to such base instincts and resort to promoting tribalism instead of pursuing the established channels of political competition.
“We are not surprised that the ugly head of tribalism has continued to attend the UPND because the very assumption of Mr Hakainde Hichilema to the presidency of the party was on the basis of tribe rather than merit. To this day he has not renounced the public pronouncements by his supporters in 2006 that only a Tonga was to succeed the late Anderson Mazoka!” Chama said.
Issued By: PF Media Campaign Team