Chikwanda warns against ‘careless’ tribal remarks

Alexanda Chikwanda

ACTING President Alexander Chikwanda has called for an immediate end to “careless talk” bordering on tribalism by senior Government officials, as that has the potential to cause disunity in the country.
This comes in the wake of recent media reports attributed to embattled Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Wynter Kabimba, who was quoted as having said that there was a tribal clique in the ruling party behind the cadres pushing for his resignation as chief executive officer of the party.
Mr  Chikwanda,  who is Finance minister, said in a statement  in  Lusaka  yesterday that Government was concerned with recent media reports attributed to some  senior  Government officials alleging that there was a practice of tribalism in the PF and its Government.
He said it was indisputable that Zambia’s biggest asset was its peace and unity and that its entire people lived in harmony, adding that Zambia’s  natural  unity was its fortress and thus anyone attempting to bring disunity based on tribe or ethnic grouping was strongly frowned upon.
“Therefore, the careless talk about tribalism is dangerous, regrettable and only serves to sow seeds of disunity. The talk is counter-productive to the well-being of the country and must be curbed immediately.
“We must emphasise that the recent happenings in the PF are purely internal debate and the normal practice of internal  democracy. The  political differences in the party will be resolved using established channels and its internal grievance handling process,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda assured that Government was functioning normally and that there was no paralysis, fear or dysfunction as alleged by certain media reports.
“It is, therefore, naïve and illusory for the opposition to assume that the internal differences  in  the  PF will result in their reaping political fortunes,” he said.
He said the PF had over the years demonstrated that it was a resilient and strong party that eventually overcame its internal challenges and had emerged stronger and united.
He said diversity of views could never be at variance with the dictates or imperatives of unity.
He said the ruling party would also  not  yield to selfish interests or private cleavages perpetrated by persons or individuals attempting to hijack the party or pursue agendas which were adrift with the national development agenda.
“The opposition will also not succeed  in  derailing  government’s ambitious development agenda. It is, therefore, desirable that all leaders in the PF work together for the good of the party and country.
Mr Chikwanda said Government was committed to its national development programme and would not be dissuaded by activities that undermined that noble agenda.
He said Government was focused on ensuring that poverty levels were significantly reduced, and that jobs and wealth were created.
Earlier yesterday, Mr Chikwanda said the Westgate mall attack in Kenya was a temporary setback and was hopeful that Kenyans would rise above the situation and continue developing their country.
He said when he signed the book of condolences in honour of those that died in the attack at the Kenyan High Commission that Kenya should be applauded for fostering development, saying it was a shining example to many African countries.