THE Bemba-speaking people should not be demonized on the basis of alleged unpalatable statements made by some senior Patriotic Front (PF) members, Robson Sikwilala, a Tonga from Kalomo district has said.
PF secretary general Davis Chama, his deputy Mumbi Phiri and Information and Broadcasting Minister Chishimba Kambwili are alleged to have disparaged the Tonga-speaking people.
Making his submissions at the Chuundu Chaitwa in Monze on Sunday, Mr Sikwilala advised Tongas not to use emotions in their deliberations because they would easily lose focus and concentrate on maligning individuals instead of discussing the issues affecting the entire country.
As Mr Sikwilala was making his submissions, most of the Tonga people agreed with him and chanted that they were not in conflict with the Bemba-speaking people but were angered by individuals whose tribal sentiments did not represent the views of all Bembas.
Mr Sikwilala said the Bemba-speaking people have never been known to be tribal in history and that it was unfair to condemn them on account of sins committed by some Zambians whose actions were not supported by the majority of the people from the region.
He said the Bemba-speaking people have never been tribal but that their image was being dented by few individuals whom he said were not true Bembas in culture and customs.
Mr Sikwilala said fake Bembas were destroying the good reputation of the true Bembas, stating that the traditional leadership in the Bemba chiefdom would never tolerate any of their subjects advancing tribal agenda, which he said was a primitive way of interacting.
He said Bembas who did not respect and promote the One Zambia One Nation President Edgar Lungu had revived and the preaching of peace and unity should not be allowed to be part of Government or hold public office because they were a danger to the political stability the country had been known for since independence.
“The people claiming to be Bembas but are failing to respect and promote the One Zambia One Nation should be flushed out of Government or any public office. They are dividing the country and are a threat to the peace, unity and political stability. A divided nation would never know peace and development.
“As Tongas, we know that Bembas have a history of being good people and only a few unpatriotic people claiming to be Bembas are destroying the good image of our brothers and sisters from the Bemba chiefdom. We should therefore not demonise and stigmatise the Bemba speaking people on the basis of the careless statements from Mr Chama, Mr Kambwili and Ms Phiri because these could not be true and original Bembas,” Mr Sikwilala said. He said Zambians should reject the primitive tribal propaganda against the Bemba, the Tonga, Lozi and other tribes in the country but should instead continue preaching peace and unity for which Zambia was being admired for by other countries.
Mr Sikwilala said he did not want to see a situation where Zambians were going to be set against each other and begin fleeing from their country to seek refuge in other countries.
He said Zambia had become home to thousands of refugees from many countries who were running away from their countries because of civil strife caused by ethnic violence.
Mr Sikwilala said although Zambia had 72 tribes, the country had remained peaceful because the people have always known that no tribe was superior than the other and respected each other as equal human beings.
The Tonga-speaking people congregated in Monze on Sunday to discuss Mr Chama, Mr Kambwili and Ms Phiri but their meeting degenerated into a full tribal meeting when UPND cadres almost disrupted the gathering claiming they did not want members of the Patriotic Front (PF) to attend the meeting.
The cadres claimed the Chuundu Chaitwa was their initiative and should therefore have been given time to make their submissions but one of the conveners Vincent Malambo denied them the opportunity.
The cadres vented their anger on Radio Macha station manager Maston Moonze and Mr Malambo whom they threatened to beat because they were allegedly PF agents.