The current political crisis in Zambia is a result of tribal hegemony

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President Lungu

By Masinga Khumalo

I am a person who likes to set the record straight and I believe that a wrong can only be corrected if it is exhaustively discussed. I don’t think that the polarisation we are experiencing in this country will just disappear without all of us taking responsibility and accepting that the path we have taken is wrong.
What is clear is that the ongoing political crisis in Zambia is not caused by anything other than tribal hegemony that seeks to dominate and subjugate other tribes and/or communities. Political Science says that democratic means of resolution of the nation’s affairs is the best tools for the development of any country in the world. If you throw a stone to a distance of a few years back, you will find out that, since 2011 the government of Zambia is ruled by two communities; the Eastern/Nyanja and the Northern/Bemba community and in a few instances assisted by ceremonial civil servants or puppets from other minority tribes to make it seem like all the 72 tribes or communities are represented.

President Sata taking oath of office before Chief Justice Ernest Sakala on 23rd September 2011 – Picture by Thomas Nsama

The late president, Micheal Sata, set us on a very dangerous path starting in 2011 when all top constitutional post holders were mainly Northerners. And our current

Former president Rupiah Banda with President Lungu at one of the campaign rallies

President has failed to stop the vice; he has continued to reward those from the Northern community with jobs while fast fusing in those from the Eastern community (helped by former president Rupiah Banda) where he hails from. All Government appointments are now done on ethnic grounds and this has adversely affected the performance of government.

The current trend in Zambia comes from the school of thought that believes that “only they can rule others and others should only be followers” and this is what we have been observing since 2011 up-to-date. Some people from the two ruling communities have openly been saying they intend to make sure that the presidency alternates between a Northerner and an Easterner, and that this will remain the status quo since the two regions have a numerical advantage when it comes to voter numbers.

HH waves at the crowd

To maintain this tribal hegemony in political power, some people have launched an onslaught on Tongas and all the tribes believed to have voted for the opposition. These are vilified on a daily basis.

The ‘One Zambia One Nation’ motto is now just words as a lot of our citizens no longer feel a sense of unity. Divisive messages have been surfacing even among religious leaders, musicians and other public figures.
We all need to sober up and ask whether being in government is more important than love for fellow citizens and future generations
If there’s anyone in this country who can help unify the country, it is Edgar Lungu. He has the power and resources to do it but for one reason or the other, he doesn’t seem interested. It is therefore clear that the tribal divisions fit into his political strategy.
Zambia can only become stable if no community or tribe believes that it is superior to others. We are a people of one nation and the flag represent all of us. We the majority must not stand with our hands behind watching the country being destroyed by those with no agenda for the country. We must unite and change the system and prove to the president and his current opportunists and corrupt cabinet what true leadership and democracy means through unity, peace and development.

49 Responses to The current political crisis in Zambia is a result of tribal hegemony

  1. The writer of this article is childish and has no wisdom , if he is a university graduate he lacks reasoning capacity.
    Every Zambian has a wright to be who ever he wants there are no restrictions of what you can do as a Zambian, you can live where ever you want you can marry who ever you want .
    You can aspire for any political office you want , if you can win the hearts of Zambians , never mention any particular tribe It doesn’t that way.

    April 5, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    • Khumalo or who ever he is (are u from s.a?) is some how correct, not childish lets call a spade a spade,i had great admiration and still have for the late founding father of PF MCS MHSRIP,as a leader,visionary despite his weakness,im Bemba through and through but having being breast fed on the pre-independence cha cha cha,then weaned on the post liberation one zambia one nation to the one party of the second republic up to the euphoria of the hour of 1991,i was spooked to see the ugly face of tribalisim rear its fetish head in 2011 onwards in appointments by the bigman,and really felt bad over the gains we had achieved from the unity of the African welfare societies of the great Mbikusita Lewanika- later king of Barotse to now finally have this wako ni wako bullshit,my heart bleeds…

      April 6, 2017 at 12:14 am

    • @Shilubemba, your negative contribution to Khumalo’s write-up is exactly what he is saying. Like your name says, you are a Bemba who believes that no other tribe should rule this country but a Bemba or at least a Nyanja. It is a dangerous path! I even wonder why President Lungu had to institute an Enquiry on Zambia’s voting patterns when the answer is himself. The voting patterns in Zambia will never change in elections yet to come when we have people like you who holistically think no other tribe can rule this country except Bembas and Nyanjas. @Shilubemba, i can assure you that the Bantu bo Tatwe plus Two meaning the North-westerners, Southerners, Westerners plus the Central and the Copperbelt tribes are working on modalities of pulling out of the Union of Zambia and if this is not handled with due diligency, it will be BLOODY.

      April 6, 2017 at 7:18 am

    • It’s such warped reasoning, @ nshilimubemba, that is driving this country towards an inferno. Khumalo is right, economical with his words as he is. What Sata did, and what his faithful and visionless disciple is doing, was/ is a continuation of the tribal hegemony torch first lit by Kapwepwe – the reason for Kaunda severing his friendship with him. It is no secret that Bemba is a national language for the Copperbelt, and is taught in Copperbelt schools (at the expense of Lamba) for the simple reason of Bembanising the region for the sake of subjugation of the indigenous tribal languages. Sata was well aware of this when he came out strongly on a 1990s policy of local language instruction at Lower primary. He knew language was ahead of taking development to Muchinga in his scheme to entrench tribal hegemony.

      child of the sky
      April 6, 2017 at 7:27 am

    • 1) All human beings have a reasoning capacity, whether sane
      or not.
      (2) Not only university or college graduates reason better
      than others.
      (3) Just like you and anybody else, the author has freedom of
      (4) Life is complex and so are views.

      Clifford Simukoko
      December 19, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Clifford Simukoko
      December 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm

  2. Illegitimate Lungu,RB,Sata,Kambwili and PF promoted tribalism for Political expediency.The Wako ni wako and Kumodzi kumawa Philosophy by Lungu and RB is killing the Spirit of “One Zambia. One Nation” which KK fought so hard to preserve. RB and Lungu have promoted tribalism to gain and retain power and are protecting themselves after committing numerous crimes against humanity.Surrounded by fellow Criminals like RB and Kaizer Zulu, Lungu is busy committing genocide against fellow Zambians and war crimes using ZPS. The root cause of all this Tension and disharmony is the 2016 Disputed and Petitioned Election. Until the Petition is beard and the Court declares the Winner of the Election the atmosphere will worsen and there wont be peace in Zambia. Illegitimate Lungu will soon suffer the Consequences. Petitioners should now move their Petition to ICJ. Clearly Petitioners cannot expect Justice from the Courts controlled by the very Criminal they are Petitioning. Lungu will not convict himself by allowing the Petition to be heard. That will be Political suicide for illegitimate Lungu.#Let the Petition be heard at ICJ without further delays.

    April 6, 2017 at 5:34 am

  3. Infact sata did more harm….look at how he started distributing wealth,he speedly put up more infrastructure in northern overlooking development plans and messed up the economy……

    April 6, 2017 at 1:40 pm

  4. I am a Bemba by tribe who personally voted for Anderson Masoka in that election year. But I shortly regretted when the results started coming out and he was leading. Our brothers from the South started warning those from the North that time had come to pay the price. Marshal Chilemena walked into ZNBC and pointed at the Director Generals door and said I am coming to take over now that we are winning these elections. So be careful when talking about this issue, try to understand the History before diving into the deepend, otherwise you may drown.

    general manager
    April 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm

  5. The voting pattern speaks volume. so lets divide zambia according to this pattern. Even British ruled us like this. We are different peoples. So, We split peacefully.

    janza kumbele
    April 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm

  6. If your thoughts end up on your tribe you will never succeed in life , concentrate on hard work and not how you cannot do that because of one tribe .
    It is up to you , now you can see gbm supporting hh what do you think mumba supporting hh the case on the ground doesn’t support your thoughts
    Politicians are only there to divide people

    April 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    • My brother.Look at voting pattern and Noth western Rhodesia and North Eastern Rhodesia maps, they are the same.
      Accept reality, we are not the same. This difference you call it ‘tribal’ is not. We dont call it tribal. Tribal calling is from you when reality comes that we are different. So divide Zambia peacefully like it united in 1964 or 1972.

      janza kumbele
      April 6, 2017 at 6:22 pm

  7. I wish to add my voice to this topic.fellow country men and women never before has this tribal tag stronger than from 2011 to 2015.this has led to the opening up of blind eyes and ears in the people who are not from Bemba and Nyanja speaking regions. Tribalism was planted during the liberation struggle by the first unip leaders.
    To help you see this truth answer the following questions,
    1.why is Bemba being taught in schools on the copper belt instead of lamba
    2.why is Bemba being taught in schools in central province instead of lenje and lala?
    3. Why is Nyanja being taught in schools instead of solid?
    4.why is it that only Bemba and Nyanja in on radio one prime time between 12-14 Hours every day?
    Such were the tribal thinking in the mind of the founding leaders though they tried to hide it in one Zambia one is for the other tribes to learn and speak Bemba and Nyanja than them learning other tribes.
    This tribal separation line was widened by Mr lupiya Banda who publicly said walk ni wako during the last wickedly handled election.up to date no Bemba and Nyanja traditional leaders has condermed the former is tribal if it is from other tribes not the self appointed ruling tribes.
    Now we know these evil thoughts and we shall meet with equal force.
    The handling of the elections what’s based on tribe through Mr chunlu backed by Mr Banda.the saying that a Tonga will never rule this country went in challenged and today the man with hate speech is now minister of defence. this tribal line is so wide and will never be closed.listen to your conscience if this is not checked and corrected Zambia is no longer one but two nations.learn from Sudan and avoid it by the rule of things stand today Zambia has no Constitution because during the wickedly​ managed elections the supreme law of the land was abrogated at will and people see nothing wrong with it.cry mother Zambia because soon this tribalism will lead to war.

    freedom fighter
    April 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    • You hv said it well brother. the solution is simple: divide zambia according to voting pattern. period. we are not the same.

      janza kumbele
      April 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm

  8. I am not a tribal activist, however the above writer is clearly microscopic in sighted the long overlooked focal issues. presidents should include all Zambians. Some of you people lacks understanding. Looking at the unrest that has now embraced Zambia, I demand for a releasing of Hichilema. I also demand that, after his release Zambia should embark on re-election process. It looks to me that, all the tensions that exist now in Zambia are as a result of elections fraudulent.If elections were free and fair, why arresting your opponents. why torturing the people who voted for you? Why the ruling party seems to have more fear? Someone must listen, someone needs understanding.
    We African and the world at large no longer living in an dictatorship era.
    PF, should not force people to love them, in fact if you were really elected by people you could not portray the fear in your ruling style.

    August 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm

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  43. (1) All human beings have a reasoning capacity, whether sane
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