REFLECTION: Multiparty Party Politics Resurrects Tribalism In Zambia.

In Zambia, we seem to talk about problems more than we are willing to solve them. If countries had a way of getting married, Zambia would have been divorced several times for nagging.

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda (KK), our first Republican President, did not just declare the Motto, “One Zambia One Nation” as a slogan, he put it into action following the famous Choma Declaration. But what is this Declaration?

Shortly after independence, there was political tension and fighting because Zambians belonged to various political parties along tribal lines, a situation which made KK comprehend how to bring to a halt such violence and division.

Mr. Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, whose party, then, the African National Congress (ANC) was the only other big party in the country, agreed to work together with KK’s United National Independent Party (UNIP) and proposed that since Choma was the major political centre of ANC, they should, after the whole agreement was reached, go and sign the agreement in that town.

It was signed on June 27, 1973, at Choma Secondary School. That is why it is known as the Choma Declaration. As Zambians, we had agreed to work together, as brothers and sisters from various backgrounds, to build more harmony, unity, peace, development and stability. Because of the Choma Declaration, a lot, over the years, was achieved only to be destroyed by a foreign governance system called multiparty democracy.

The irony about all this is that it was the violence of multiparty democracy that forced Harry and Kenneth to abandon it and yet out of our insatiable appetite for power coupled with imperialists who were lurking by the doorsteps for our natural resources, we reverted to a failed formula instead of working on the succession modalities at the helm since noone liked voting for a frog.

Democracy in Africa was not introduced to promote good governance. It was a tool by our former colonial masters to put Africa in check. It has since lead to inefficient governments, endless power transitions and social chaos. It prioritizes the immediate needs of politicians over those of a nation united with a purpose to develop.

In the United States, just a couple of days ago, we saw how multiparty democracy prioritises party interests over national values. The vote to impeach Donald Trump was not premised on the evidence but on party affiliation, something we are familiar with here in Zambia, probably proving just how advanced we are as Zambians.

Today, whether a President fires anyone who sounds tribal or orders to delete the word tribalism from all dictionaries in Zambia, as long as we keep a governance system we did not create to address our diverse ethnic groups, tribalism in politics will continue because our political parties are not defined on values such as Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Christian Democrats, etc.

This information is even in the report of the Commission of Enquiry on Political Violence. The solution to restore “One Zambia One Nation” lies in devising a new governance system which will prioritize development over political hegemony.

According to the report, Zambia is effectively divided into two, the Northern Block and the Southern Block. For sustainable political peace to exist, our governance system must be one that recognises that the Southern Block equally wishes to see a President from its Block. Burying our heads in the sand while reciting the “One Zambia One Nation” motto won’t help at all. It’s just a “bandage” over a cancerous sore.

We need to do more and talk less. Equally, where action is needed, let’s not dwell on prayers. With unpredictable rainfall, we must invest heavily in irrigation and harvesting any rainfall we are blessed with in dams for irrigation. With a people united at a political level, we will preoccupy our minds with development, in the manner Rwanda is operating today.

Mpandashalo Evans Mwewa
Global Capstone Centre
For Leadership Development
WhatsApp: +260 977 430702

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  1. fb

    Good way of analysing issues

    • Frank Chombela

      So Chris Phiri is also known as Mpandashalo Evans Mwewa. There’s no informed analysis here. As a sign of just how disorganized Zambia is, try looking for the Choma Declaration and see if you will get a copy. Try looking for the report on electoral violence and see if you will get a copy. Why was Kaunda then elected out of office?

  2. stay away

    There isn’t any truth, apart from this one.political truck records that r vry unfair to pipo of southern block has tortured them a lot! Frm z time of Harry mwaanga nkumbula, mundia nalumino, mazoka, to mention but a few, all z way up to hh, southern block have had been sidelined a lot!!! So, what is one Zambia, one nation for???

  3. Laptop

    I agree totally. Let’s just hope the southern block will not be like the Igbo of Nigeria who were traitors leading to the biafra wars. Good analysis Evans.

  4. Logic

    Nga fyashupa just rotate presidency or revert to zambia’s original state. Geographically the North and South cannot attract each other. There will be repulsion even if you try to bring them together. Luo, mutale, bwalya, mwamba act that way because of the magnetic force between N&S of any country or continent.

  5. BA 408

    pf is championing tribalism look at their hate speeches towards tonga tribe, when hh wanted to distribute mealie_meal they said take it to ur tonga cows, whats that? if the bible says God created man in his own image who are you to like man to a cow? what was bizwell, nkandu luo and chanda sayin? look at the gvt top possisions, true one can tell wako ni wako is at work. we need to be one whether pf,upnd,fdd or mmd lets learn to respect each other. dont say no tonga man lozi,luvale,kaonde wil be president thats an insult. Gods wil its not man’s wil, the lord doesn’t look at a tribe,age or race. he blesses who ever he wants

  6. Madrid


  7. Sparta

    What is it that Tongas are doing you guys? …you are always blaming and forgetting that those statements that u ar issuing is what we call tribalism…get back to ur senses u mother fuckers…

  8. Ben Shaft

    Your view on the merits and demerits of multiparty politics are premised on our inability to grasp values such as liberalism,conservatism or democracy.
    The history of these theories is that there is a group of people who espouses and encourages other people to believe them,hence formation of diverse political parties.The whole votes to choose which system will work for their idealism.We do not need concepts of Southern or Northern Blocks
    We need ideas that can be bought by those in the all the blocks,whether Southern,Eastern,Northern or Western.
    Let a president be elected on his or her worthy by all the electorates in Zambia
    Your suggestion of rotating the presidency based on’blocks’ is I’ll conceived and misplaced.Who will be the person to represent each block such as the southern block? What is the extent of the southern block? Does it includes western province? What about Central block?.
    This is complex and confusing.

    • LEAVE me ALONE

      Northern Block comprises of muchinga,luapula, eastern and northern and part of central that was called North Eastern Rhodesia while copperbelt,south of central,lusaka,northwest, western and southern this formes Southern Block known as Northwest Rhodesia (Barothseland by then) that’s why the motto of ” One Zambia One Nation”thus we had so called tribal balancing,

  9. Brics

    Today you have sounded much better, there is some objectivity in your analysis.

  10. Curtis

    Absolutely wonderful,what an excellence way of reasoning. Mr Mwewa is a true democrat these are just a few of people we need to be in government if at all we are to prosper.

  11. [Ozzio

    I concur with everyone who calls for one party constitution just NOW. This has to be used in our next 2021 election.We are not ready for multiparty politics especially in rural Zambia.Tribalism is rife,try to take aBemba to Monze to campaim for Pres Lungu and you would see the outcome in minutes.Even Westerners have failed,we are not.yet fully civilised we need CenteralCommittee and thePRESIDENT

  12. Winnipeg Nyirongo

    Go away with the Old Monopoly of Governance and Start the New Democratic Governance Systems. But all that we need in following New Democratic Governance is Justice, Transparency and Accountability for all our Top Leaders. Nothing else!!! Thanks!

  13. Razor

    Everything you do wrong you want to blame imperialists or colonialists or other outside forces. It is never your fault. No wonder we shall never progress.

  14. shula christopher


  15. L.C

    Democracy is a way to go. The problem is that, we have leaders who don’t care for important things in our country. They behave as if they don’t know the consequences of promoting tribalism. Look at what happened in Luanda, please politicians be careful with you do.A government is suppose to care for its citizens by providing all of their needs not division among them. People in our country are poor, the economic is bad, no jobs , no freedom of expression, no press freedom especially znbc is entirely controlled any one with opposing views cannot shown or heard on znbc. People are being gased . These are things our leaders ought to solve and make Zambia a Heaven on earth for all of us!

  16. tarnyford

    truth has been spoken

  17. Respect

    Don’t insult the ✋ thats feeds you boi gvt.

  18. LN

    With so many tribes I think the KKs one party democracy is the best. It should come back.


    The KK formula of governance is back ( one part state) multiparty system is varnishing out steadily slowly and we are watching. A lot of citizens are without knowledge if Zambia is building positively on her democracy or the other way round, example of opposition eviction from Chilubi parliamentary bye election campaigns.

  20. Daniel Temwani Phiri Youth Educator

    Those are the same mediocre minds that my fellow well meaning citizens and I have been striving very hard to eradicate. In democratic governance, citizens ought to indulge impartially in national affairs including voting for leaders of their choice to office.

  21. Hamabemba

    Water, air, earth and fire, these elements seem so different but for seed to grow it a better half of almost all of them. The day Tonga’s and Lozi’s will learn to work with Bemba’s and Eastern’s or the other way round, Zambia with will achieved its greatest heights.

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