Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) National Executive Committee member Chilufya Chishala says it is immoral for politicians to make political capital out of President Lungu’s remarks on Chinese people and Bembas.
Republican President Edgar Lungu has come under fire after he made a joke which questions the honesty of Bembas and also likened the Chinese to Cockroaches because of their ability to survive in harsh conditions.
But Chishala who is the former ruling party’s Chairperson for Agriculture who resides in Eastern province said any Zambian who is old enough knows that Easterners are all Nyanja speaking people regardless of the differences in their linguistic dialects.
He said politicians should not use such a harmless joke to divide the nation but instead promote such jokes and learn to live the way the country has lived in harmony between the tribal cousins.
“You can have someone from Chama to Nyimba, they can still communicate. Easterners have one langauge, whether you are Chewa, Tumbuka, Nsenga, Kunda or Ngoni they are all one, they have a similar language and this is partly due to inter marriages.
“Similarly for Bemba speaking people, you cannot differentiate people from Luapula and those from Northern or Muchinga, these are one people.
“For some disgruntled politician to shamelessly try to make political capital out of a cousinship which has existed and lasted for close to a century, is cheap. These two people’s have demonstrated this during weddings, funerals, kitchen parties, Amatebeto and Ichombela nganda,” he said.
Chilufya added that as a Bemba person who has lived and married in Eastern province for over 30 years, he has been welcomed in all areas of life, and has playfully done cousinship with all the tribes in eastern province and the people themselves like and enjoy it.
“President Lungu was born and bred on the Copperbelt, and Copperbelt people only know that people from Eastern province are all one and they are cousins with Bemba speaking people that’s it.
“Please, let’s allow President Lungu to live among us, let us not make him an alien in his own community. He has a life to lead, free to joke and play antics with whomever he so wishes.
“A President is a human being, living among humans and he must not be denied that just because he is a President,” he said.
Chilufya went on to rebut the President’s joke.
“Let me demonstrate my love for this cousinship, for instance we have very useless people from Eastern province like Dickson Jere, Laskin Jere, Noel Nkhoma, Lameck Mangani, Moses Mawere, Vincent Mwale, Peter Daka including their sisters Angela Chifire, Shirley Thole, Vera Tembo-Chiluba, Dora Siliya, Pilile Jere, Olipa Phiri, Elizabeth Phiri just to mention a few, amongst ten(10) of these men eight(8) are dagga smokers and eight(8) of their sisters are not reliable and they cannot be trusted because their culture is synonymous to three things which they believe in so much smoking dagga and they know what they do and I wont mention the last one.
“I am asking them to the challenge me including President Lungu and former President Rupiah Banda,” he joked.
Meanwhile Republican President Edgar Lungu’s untimely joke about Bembas being thieves has also received condemnation from All People’s Congress party president Nason Msoni.
President Lungu is said to have joked that in every 10 thieves 6 are Bembas something his fixers have said it is a joke aimed at his traditional cousins.
But All People’s Congress party president Nason Msoni described the joke as an abuse of the Bemba speaking people as President Lungu is not a Ngoni for him to practice cousinship with the Bembas.
The outspoken opposition leader explained that the Republican President was being ungreatful to the people who gave him an opportunity to govern the country.
“Edgar Lungu is not Ngoni to get away with abusing our Bemba cousins in the manner and fashion he did.
“Nothing can atone for this blatant abuse of Bembas. He forgot that it is the Bemba’s who gave him the opportunity to be President of Zambia.
“When we say Lungu is an ingrate this is exactly what we mean. It is a material fact that Lungu has shortchanged Easterners with his fellow Malawians in his administration,” he said.
He further claimed that President Lungu was using the Ngonis because it suits when to the contrally he has never liked them as can be seen from his cabinet were Ngonis have been excluded.
“Our counsel to you trying hard to fix his insults to Bemba speaking people is that please leave Ngoni people out of this. Edgar has never liked Ngoni people and this is explicitly visible by his obvious exclusion of Ngoni’s from his administration.
“Edgar only wants Ngoni’s to give him support and to vote for him when it suits him. Traditional cousinship doesn’t offer an opportunity to anyone to abuse the entire clan.
“Clearly Lungu criminally abused and stigmatised Bemba’s as thieves and nothing can atone for this behaviour than for Lungu to apologise to the entire Bembas. You cannot paint the whole tribe with one brush,” Msoni said.