PRESIDENT Lungu has hailed United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema for insisting that issues based on tribal lines are peripheral and irrelevant.
Mr Lungu said the stance taken by Mr Hichilema is progressive as it promotes peace and unity in the country.
The President said he supports the opposition leader’s statement that the country should debate important national issues such as electricity, closure of the Copperbelt University and the stability of the Kwacha.
The President said this yesterday through his special assistant for press and public relations Amos Chanda.
“The President wishes to place on record that the approach taken by the UPND leader, where he insists that issues of tribe are peripheral and irrelevant, is encouraging.
“The President takes note that it is very progressive for the opposition leader to in fact propose that we should be debating issues of electricity, closure of Copperbelt University and the stability of the Kwacha,” Mr Chanda said.
He said Mr Lungu is also of the view that tribe is a non-issue as Zambians are focused on development and challenges that the country is facing.
Mr Chanda said the President is, therefore, surprised that some sections of society are bent on making tribe an agenda.
“The President is ready to dialogue and that is why he takes note of the issues the opposition leader raised when he was travelling to Solwezi,” Mr Chanda said.
And four traditional leaders of Southern Province have assured the President that they will not be dragged into unnecessary politicking over the relationship between the royal establishments and Government.
Chieftainess Mwenda, chiefs Simamba, Chipepo and Sinadambwe said they would support the government of the day and acknowledge that the country can only have one head of State at a time.
The traditional leaders said this yesterday when they met Mr Lungu on the sidelines of his tour of the Kafue Gorge and Kariba North Bank hydro power stations.
He said the traditional leaders assured the President that they were ready to dialogue on any national issue of contention.
“The President is pleased that the chiefs understand that sensational approach to any perceived difference between politicians and Government is very peripheral,” he said.
Mr Chanda said Mr Lungu reiterated that he would return to Southern Province to specifically meet traditional leaders.
He said the head of State has also extended an invitation to the traditional leaders from the province to State House.
And Mr Lungu is happy in the manner Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni-speaking people of Eastern Province handled the perceived differences between him and Government.
“I wish to announce that his Royal Highness Paramount Chief Mpezeni has met with the President and held cordial conversations. They met two days ago. They discussed matters of mutual co-operation between Government and His Royal Highness,” Mr Chanda said.
He said Paramount Chief Mpezeni also informed President Lungu about the progressive steps taken in the dialogue between the Ngoni and Chewa royal establishments.
The two chiefdoms were recently engaged in a land dispute in Chipangali, Chipata.
Mr Chanda said the traditional leader assured the President that the relationship between him and Gawa Undi is cordial.
“Next week, Mr Lungu will receive an envoy from Paramount Chief Gawa Undi to discuss preparations for the Kulamba traditional ceremony.
“Mr Lungu is encouraged by the maturity with which Paramount Chief Mpezeni handled the misinformation that was peddled regarding the relationship between him and Government,” Mr Chanda said.