Tuesday, September 25, 2007
By Chibaula Silwamba
Tuesday September 25, 2007 [04:00]
TRIBALISM has destroyed UPND, Southern Province MMD chairman, Daniel Munkombwe, has charged. And United Liberal Party (ULP) president Sakwiba Sikota has challenged UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to tell the nation if he is comforted or not with Willie Shalya’s statement that it is now time to try a Tonga for Republican presidency.
Commenting on former MMD Chongwe Constituency chairman Willie Shalya’s statement that a Tonga should be the next Republican president, Munkombwe said tribalism, as depicted in UPND, was harmful.
“I don’t believe in narrowness that a leader can come from one grouping or tribe. In Tonga we say musololi uzwa mubunji which simply means a leader can emerge from among the many,” Munkombwe said. “Let us not be tribalists.”
He observed that UPND was no longer a national party.
“It’s a group from one tribe. Those from other tribes are regarded as strangers,” he observed. “That has been a set up of the UPND, even when (party founder president Anderson]) Mazoka died, they publicly told the whole world that he can only be replaced by a Tonga. That destroyed the party.”
He said a political party should have members from all the 72 districts of Zambia and not just one tribe or region.
“It’s folly for anybody to think that one tribe, be it Tonga, Bemba or Lozi can rule this country. It’s not possible,” said Munkombwe, who is a Tonga.
And Sikota said a tribe should not be a qualification for one to be president of Zambia.
“I’m surprised that somebody can be regarding a tribe as a qualification for one to be president. I hope those concerned will make their stand known and disassociate themselves from such sentiments,” said Sikota, who formed the ULP as a breakaway political party after losing to Hichilema just before last year’s elections.
“Tribe should never be one of the qualifications for one to be Republican president. Zambia is for all.”
Sikota challenged Hichilema to state his position on Shalya’s sentiments.
“It’s better to ask him if he is comfortable with that sentiment. Everybody will be asking that question, so he has to tell the nation if he is comfortable,” said Sikota
Shalya, who defected to the UPND on Saturday, said Zambia had tried Bemba and Lenje speaking presidents and it was now time to try a Tonga.
“We have tried the Bembas, the Lenjes and now we should try the Tongas. The next time it is the Chikunda,” said Shalya.
However, Hichilema did not rebuke Shalya or support his statement.