LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Stakeholders in Zambia have received with a pinch
of salt a proposal by President Edgar Lungu to remove details of
tribe from the country’s national identification document called
the National Registration Card.
The Zambian populace
feels the country will lose its culture and identity if details
of tribe and area of origin are deleted from the National
on the Zambian national identification document include, date of
birth, place of birth, sex, village, chief and district.
Zambia has 72 tribes
and seven main local languages spread across the country, with
the tribes headed by traditional leaders known as chiefs.
While on a state
visit to Rwanda last month, the Zambian leader said his
government is considering removing “tribe” from the national
identification document to avoid tribal wars like what happened
in Rwanda between the Tutsis and Hutus.
If this is
implemented, it means the provision for one’s village and
chiefdom would be removed from the documents.
But one of the
country’s senior traditional leaders, Paramount Chief Mpezeni of
the Ngoni people in eastern Zambia says this should not be
allowed as a person was known by their tribe and the village.
“We are known by
where we come from through the NRC, so that suggestion cannot be
good,” the traditional leader said.
He added that white
people were also known by their origins.
“There are Greeks,
English and the like, so those suggestions cannot be entertained
and should not be tolerated,” he added.
ruler from Lundazi district in eastern Zambia is also opposed to
the idea of removing tribe from the identification documents.
believes that the proposal was not attainable, adding that
details in the documents should not be tampered with as they
tell where a person comes from.
The idea to oppose
the proposal has also been received with a pinch of salt by
other sectors of society.
Elijah Ngwale, a
75-year-old resident of Lusaka, the country’s capital, wondered
what details the document will bear if important issues were not
Ngwale, who is a
political scientist and also represents the blind people,
believes that the proposal should not even be entertained.
president of the opposition United Progressive People (UPP),
said such a proposal will be against God who instituted tribes,
adding that having such important information on the documents
was the only sure way of identifying the true citizens of the
“Even when you go to
the United States of America, each State is represented. Not all
Americans have the same accent. They are identified by the
states they come from,” he said.
According to him,
God put 72 tribes in Zambia for easy identification.
leader of the opposition Rainbow party and former justice
minister said tribalism is a concept being promoted by
politicians, saying Zambians have co-existed over the years
without any problems.
Mike Mubanga, a
93-year-old resident of Lusaka, said tribe was crucial because
it defines who a person is and where they hail from.
“What is important
here is that Zambians must not lose their culture. I think it is
important that we should be proud of our tribe and we must be
proud to promote our culture,” he said.