TRIBAL politics characterizing the ongoing presidential campaign are a serious danger to national unity, Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) national chairman Kabinga Pande has warned.
But former Kawambwa member of Parliament Elizabeth Chitika Molobeka has defended her statement saying she has been provoked by tribal campaigns in Southern Province
Speaking at a press briefing at Radisson Blu in Lusaka, Mr Pande said it was disheartening that the MMD, which is considered the mother of democracy could reduce itself to a tribal party stating that regionalism should never be tolerated in Zambia.
Mr Pande said the meeting called by Muhabi Lungu at which it was resolved that the party should support PF president Edgar Lungu was not a NEC meeting because he (Pande), his deputy Edgar Keembe and MMD president Nevers Mumba were not in attendance.
But convener Faustina Sinyangwe, who is women’s chairman, said the meeting was a consultative forum entitled to discuss any matter of interest.
Mr Pande said some MMD MPs were campaigning for Mr Hichilema so that the country could be saved from the violence that characterized the politics in the last three years under the PF rule.
“It is shocking that the MMD through Elizabeth Chitika could be campaigning on tribal lines. We have to deal with these tribal politics that we have seen in the last three years. We have to deal with the violence that has characterized our politics under the PF rule. Our messages should be anchored on what leaders can do and not where they come from. We strongly believe Mr Hichilema has the capacity with the help of all of us to unite this country,” Mr Pande said.
Mr Pande said some MMD MPs and NEC members were campaigning for Mr Hichilema so that he could unite the country which they said had been deeply divided by the PF on tribal lines.
The MMD MPs have predicted that victory was certain for Mr Hichilema in next month’s presidential election because the wind of change that swept the former ruling party into power was strongly blowing towards the UPND completely changing the direction of the political pendulum.
They have also maintained their position to campaign for UPND president Hakainde Hichilema so that he could restore order and correct the economic transgressions that have been committed by the Patriotic Front.
The MMD MPs have advised Zambians to reject political leaders and parties propagating ethnic and regional politics because Zambia was a united country despite having more than 70 tribes.
Mr Pande who was speaking on behalf of the MPs and NEC members said on November 16, 2014, the MMD held a NEC meeting at which its president Mumba directed Mr Lungu to present a paper on the alliance with the UPND and that at no time did the former ruling party discuss the possibility of supporting the ruling party.
Mr Pande was flanked by Kembe MP Lt Ronnie Chikapwasha, Elija Muchima, Lufwanyama MP Annie Chungu and MMD vice national chairman Edgar Keembe.
Mr Pande said the last three years have been politically and economically torturous and that Zambians had a chance to correct the wrongs that were committed by the PF.
He said the MPs and Zambians in general were concerned that the entire PF leadership apart from Acting President had not condemned the violence being perpetrated by the PF.
“We want to have a president who is going to unite the country and we determined with all our structures in our constituencies to ensure that we deliver for Mr Hichilema as Zambia’s President. This is the only time that someone has reminded me of where I come from and yet we never knew tribalism before. We have a chance to become one again by rejecting the PF,” Mr Pande said.
He said the MPs were also appealing to former President Rupiah Banda to deeply reflect on how the PF humiliated him soon after he lost power by irregularly striping him of his immunity and persecuted him before deciding to support any of the presidential candidates.