Wednesday, June 20, 2007
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday June 20, 2007 [04:00]
IT is dangerous for Zambia to approach the search for leadership at provincial and tribal levels, Dr Kenneth Kaunda has warned. And Siyoto Kunyanda, the man who chaired the Lozi loyalists' meeting, said yesterday that the group had no apologies tomake for having met as concerned persons originating from Western Province.
Commenting on the resolution by a group of prominent personalities from Western Province that it was time for a Lozi to become Republican president, Dr Kaunda warned that the action by the Lozi group could trigger divisions and conflict in the nation if they succeeded in the desire to have a Lozi Republican president.
"That is a terrible thing to do for the nation. I don't think that leadership search requires provincial approach," Dr Kaunda said. "It is a bad precedence...it is catastrophe to approach leadership at provincial level."
Dr Kaunda said he felt sad to read about the Lozi meeting at the time when he was trying to unite Zambians to fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS.
"You can imagine how I felt...when I am in process of changing the Tiyende Pamodzi slogan to suit the current struggle against poverty and HIV/AIDS...now it should be...timenye nkhondo ya AIDS ndi m'tima umo...let us fight against AIDS with one spirit. That is what we should aim at as Zambians," Dr Kaunda said. "All these terrible things happening around us call for unity among us."
He reminded Zambians that all human beings were God's children. "Who are we to divide God's children?" he asked.
Dr Kaunda said each time the ugly face of tribalism tried to come up, his UNIP regime crushed it because it was a danger to national unity and development.
"Remember, during our times we had me as a northerner as president, among others Mainza Chona as prime minister from the South, Nalumino Mundia and Daniel Lisulo from the West, Humphrey Mulemba from North-Western and Reuben Kamanga and Grey Zulu from the East...all of us came from different provinces but worked together without difficulties," he said. "Each time such thing like tribalism came up, we crushed it with vigour and purpose."
Dr Kaunda asked Zambians to learn from some of the catastrophes that arose from tribalism.
"We have something to learn from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone," he said. "We must think national and avoid actions that can trigger divisions and conflicts. We can also learn something from our founding fathers and mothers who stood for unity and love for one another. Remember One Zambia One Nation slogan was not a UNIP slogan but a national slogan."
Dr Kaunda commended The Post's editorial comment, which he said provided guidance for peace loving Zambians. UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has also advised Zambians to avoid tribal and regional politics.
And Mwandi MMD member of parliament Michael Kaingu revealed that chiefs in Western Province were sponsoring them to discuss political leaders. In a statement, Kunyanda said no Zambian should be condemned for exercising freedom of expression and freedom of association.
"We have no apologies for having met as concerned persons originating from Wastern Province or having allowed free expression of diversity of ideas and proposals from among those who attended the meeting," Kunyanda stated. "However, we note that both the meeting and what was said at the meeting had been grossly misrepresented and taken for a farfetched ride by opportunists and hypocrites."
Kunyanda stated that the issue of a presidential candidature was not a main agenda item and that it came up as a side issue.
He explained that calls for a meeting of people originating from Western Province were more importantly in response to concerns over developmental issues. Kunyanda stated that many of the Lozi people were concerned that their province had become poorest in terms of human welfare and job opportunities.
"The main agenda item was to put our heads together in order to come up with ideas and programmes that could be fed into national development work," Kunyanda stated.
He stated that it had been brought to the attention of those assigned to organise and facilitate the meeting that there had been a committee of permanent secretaries from various ministries who had been constituted to co-ordinate an integrated development plan for North-Western Province.
"It was proposed that the meeting should find out the background of this scheme and look into ways of possibly applying the same to Western Province," he stated. "However, it is not surprising that some self-righteous people, ever ready to paint Barotse people with one coat of black paint, are presenting themselves as champion mountain climbers, on an anthill they have deliberately sought to make into mountain."
He charged that some opportunists and hypocrites had jumped on the bandwagon of exaggerations. He dispelled the notion that the meeting was in defiance of President Mwanawasa's call to stop the process that had been unleashed by his earlier statement that party members should start looking for his replacement after the end of his current state presidential term.
He stated that President Mwanawasa's ban on party presidential campaigns was made after Ku-Omboka while their meeting took place before Ku-Omboka. He stated that his group would continue to participate in contributing towards the choice of the next MMD candidate for the state president. "Some of us may have been honest and open enough to allow people to say exactly what they have in mind. Yes, nothing has come out in the press about meetings of persons from other