Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hakainde and racism
By Editor
Tue 04 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

The remark by Hakainde Hichilema that Vice-President Dr Guy Scott is the only remaining colonialist in Zambia should not be tolerated because it is racist and goes against the spirit of our Constitution.

This country is a nation of many migrants who have come in from different parts of this continent and of this world. Most of the people who make up a greater part of our population arrived in this country in the 1800s.

And together, we have formed a nation called Zambia. This great nation of ours comprises people of different tribes and races. And all have made their contribution to the building up of this homeland of ours. To resort to tribalism and racism when we have differences with each other is barbaric.

Addressing a rally in Chifubu, Ndola on January 17, 1965, the founder of our Republic Dr Kenneth Kaunda made it very clear that "our society in Zambia shall be non-tribal, non-racial, and that our society in Zambia shall only judge each and every individual according to his behaviour".
Given this teaching, why is Hakainde so inclined to clinging to ethnicity, racism and regionalism in his politics?
We detest racialism, because we regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black person or a white person. This is so because racism pollutes the atmosphere of human relations and poisons the minds of the backward, the bigoted and the prejudiced.
As we enter the 50th year of our independence, it is intolerable and unacceptable that the cancer of racism is still eating away the flesh and souls of some of our political leaders like Hakainde.
It is the duty of all patriots and progressive citizens to ensure that colour, race and tribe become only a God-given gift to each one of us and not an indelible mark or attribute that accords a special status to any.
Racism is a blight on the human conscience. And we should never allow our country to play host to racism. Nor shall our voices be stifled if we see that another is a victim of racial discrimination in our homeland or indeed anywhere in the world.
Racism must be consciously combated and not discreetly tolerated.
And again, we should follow the teachings of the founder of our Republic on this score: "The cause of non-racialism is the cause of mankind. It gives us the opportunity to classify man not by his colour, which is beyond his control, but by his action which, of course, is within his control. We should never be part and parcel of that type of society that will condemn people wholesale. That is an old and tired thinking completely unsuitable for a revolutionary. Further on this point, we must learn to hate what is done and not to hate the doer. What is meant here is, if we hated the doer as such, it would mean that even if he changed for the better, we would continue to hate him simply because he was what he was. On the other hand, if we learn to hate what is done, there is always a chance that the people whose activities we strongly disapproved will change, and then we would have no cause to hate them…" (Address to UNIP national council at Mulungushi, November 9, 1968).
Clearly, racism is rejected as contrary to law and justice. And as Christians, we believe that the world is God's world; and that God intervenes in it and gives a human person the power to transform it into a world of brothers and sisters.
It should not be forgotten that racial discrimination happens when there is a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on race and which is pursued with the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the exercise of one's rights on equal basis in all areas of public life.
Any political outlook which bases value judgments on racial differentiation is contrary to the moral and ethical principles of humanity and deserves to be denounced, discredited and discarded. And we wish to emphasise that it is definitely against natural justice and Christian brotherly love to discriminate between people of different races and tribe. Nothing but evil can be the fruit of racial or tribal discrimination, a practice contrary to both justice and brotherly love. The practice of racial discrimination is contrary to the principle of unity of the human race, the oneness of the human family. The enjoyment of the freedom from racial discrimination will be a reality when people refrain from paying exaggerated attention to the accidental difference within the human family, especially the accidental difference of colour.
The human race is one. The fact of its oneness is not altered by any secondary differences in the various families that compose the human race. The whole human race has the same origin, the same nature, the same basic rights and duties and the same destiny. The whole of humankind is united by the common parenthood of God and by a common brotherhood in Christ. We wish to make it clear that we recall this truth of the essential oneness of the human family for the benefit of all sections of the community, and not to be influenced by paying undue attention to accidental differences within the human family. All human beings indeed do not possess the same gifts or talents; nor does life offer each the same opportunities. But this inequality of gifts and of opportunity has nothing to do with race for all citizens are entitled to develop a full civic, social and intellectual life.
We fully appreciate the history of our country in terms of race. This is a country in which there was a racially oppressed black majority. But it is also a country in which we had white people who sided and fought side by side with the blacks to remove white oppression and domination. And in a country with our history, non-racism from white Zambians was not an outlook that could simply be taken for granted. Therefore, people like Dr Scott, who have contributed immensely, through their personal example, to nurturing that outlook which is so evident in our country today, cannot be taken for granted. Let those politicians like Hakainde, who have based themselves on narrow ethnic constituencies, now ponder their example. And nobody should be allowed to interfere with their political rights because of stupid racial prejudice. This country will always be a homeland for all Zambians, regardless of their colour, tribe or origin. Dr Scott is as much Zambian as Hakainde. And probably Dr Scott is more patriotic to this collective homeland of ours than Hakainde.

But there is a very worrying thing about Hakainde's tribal and racial political outlook. Why is Hakainde so concerned about tribe and race? What type of leader will Zambia have if one day we were to wake up and find we have Hakainde as president of the Republic? What will be the position on tribe and race in his scheme of things? And where will that leave the country?

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