Wednesday, September 26, 2007
By Chibaula Silwamba, Lambwe Kachali and Sandra Lombe
Wednesday September 26, 2007 [04:00]
THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has said it will not support and campaign for a Republican presidential candidate in 2011 based on tribe but on quality and the ability to deliver development. And chief Chisunka of Mansa said tribe should not be a factor for the Republican presidency.
Reacting to former MMD Chongwe Constituency chairman Willie Shalya's statement that a Tonga should be the next Republican president, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma yesterday said the party would not look at tribe as criteria for choosing a Republican president.
"The most important criteria for choosing a president is that he must possess quality leadership skills, knowledge about how to turn around the economy and move this country from poverty to economic prosperity, regardless of which region or tribe that candidate comes from," Kakoma said.
He said when UPND president Hakainde Hichilema addressed the over 200 people, including Shalya, that defected from the MMD to UPND, he emphasised the need for national unity.
"He challenged all those who were against people from other regions and tribes not to waste their energies on fighting fellow Zambians on tribal lines," said Kakoma.
And chief Chisunka, who is also chief whip of the House of Chiefs, said all Zambia needed was a good and genuine leader regardless of tribe.
"Saying that Zambia should try a Tonga president is not good. I can’t be happy choosing a president because of tribe. This will be tribalism, I can't say I need a president who is my tribesman. We just want someone who is genuine and a good leader. All the country needs is a good leader for all Zambians," chief Chisunka said.
Chief Chisunka said Shalya's statement could spoil Hichilema's chances, as people would consider him a tribalist. "If they say Tonga, then they want to start spoiling Hichilema," said chief Chisunka.
Defecting from the MMD to UPND, Shalya said Zambia had tried a Bemba and Lenje-speaking Republican president and it was now time to try a Tonga.