LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Zambians have been subjected to the
doings of tribalism that risks creating more disunity,
causing concerns among stakeholders who feel this should
be dealt with before it divides the country more.
President Edgar Lungu earlier this week said the
government may criminalize tribalism and hate speech in
an effort to promote peace and unity in the country.
leader, who has been preaching against tribalism
following divisions witnessed after the disputed
elections, said his government will also abolish
issuance of national identification documents depicting
a person’s tribe, adding that identifying people by
tribe has not helped the country in anyway.
completely abolish or obliterate identification
documents classifying people by tribe. The white man
came and started classifying people by tribe,” the
Zambian leader told local media after touring Kigali
Genocide Memorial Center during his visit to Rwanda.
said, should learn from Rwanda’s genocide experience
where one million people were killed on tribal lines.
statement has since received mixed reactions from a
cross section of stakeholders in this southern African
tribalism is being promoted by some politicians to
champion their political agenda. For example, if a PF
(governing Patriotic Front) cabinet minister goes to
Eastern Province where President Edgar Lungu comes from
and urges the easterners to vote for their own son, is
that not promoting regionalism and tribalism,” Charles
Kakoma, a retired prominent journalist and spokesperson
of the main opposition United Party for National
Development (UPND) said on his Facebook page.
removing tribe from national identification documents in
order to fight tribalism and promote unity was not an
issue because tribe was not even included on the
have been supported by the opposition Movement for
Multiparty Democracy (MMD) which feels tribalism was
being fueled by politicians.
Nakachinda, national secretary of one faction of the
former ruling party said politicians were fueling
tribalism due to their engagement in petty politics
instead of engaging in issue-based discussions.
Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, one of the church
mother bodies in the country, believes that the Zambian
leader’s calls should be supported by all well-meaning
Mwanza, the executive director of the church mother body
says criminalizing tribalism would go a long way in
dealing with the problem which was a growing source of
him, Zambia should do everything possible in order to
tackle the problem of tribalism as it has the capacity
to cause divisions in the country.
But one of
the country’s leading lawyers accused law enforcement
agencies of being weak in enforcing laws that bar people
from using hate speech and language bordering on
said that expression of tribalism and hate speech were
already illegal despite the police failing to enforce
him, chapter 7 of the penal code clause 70 bars any
person from uttering any words or publishing any writing
expressing or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for
any person or group of persons.
others felt that the country’ first President Kenneth
Kaunda, who managed to hold the 72 tribes together
during his 27-year rule should help in promoting unity
in the country.
that Kaunda, who held the country together, through his
slogan “One Zambia, One Nation” could be of valuable
help in helping the current crop of politicians in