By David Zulu.
In what can only be described as offensive and repugnant tribal pandering and cheerleading, President Edgar has doubled up his ethnic attacks on his political archrival UPND President Hakainde Hichilema accusing him of ‘dividing’ the Bembas and Tongas and repeatedly vowing that the latter would never enter State House.
The President said this when he met politician Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba in Kasama yesterday.
Without offering any evidence, the highly charged President insisted that Mr Hichilema was a tribalist who he would not allow to be President of Zambia while GBM swore that Northern Province was ‘a no go area’ for the UPND President who he accused of being bitter by pursuing the Republican Presidency that was only reserved for Northerners and Easteners.
Mr Mwamba boasted that he had since gained weight because he had once again started eating well since he rejoined the PF.
President Edgar Lungu has intensified his attacks on Mr Hakainde Hichilema in the past few weeks. On the fringes of the inaugural Zambia Economic Conference in Livingstone two weeks ago, Mr Lungu swore that Mr Hichilema would never be President, a statement he repeated a few days later in Northwestern Zambia where he had gone to drum up support for his party.
The statement has been interpreted by political pundits and the UPND itself as a thinly veiled threat on Mr Hichilema’s life.
President Edgar Lungu’s joint appearances with GBM who is a native of the Northern regions of Zambia, is being viewed as an endorsement of the latter’s unapologetic resentment of any non Northerner of ever becoming President.
Mr Mwamba who until he resigned from the UPND was President Lungu’s harshest and fiercest critic, repeatedly calling out the President as a little thief that had stolen big from the treasury of the Zambian people. He had then hailed Mr Hichilema as the only savior and patriot who was well placed and equipped to redeem Zambia from the economic malaise the PF had caused on the citizens.
However when Mr Mwamba resigned, he immediately declared a bizarre program he dubbed as ‘operation dismantle UPND’ which was centred around ethnic hate against the Tongas.
In his new ethnic crusade, the former PF Defense Minister announced that there would be no Tonga or Lozi who would be President of Zambia.
President Lungu’s insistence that Mr Hichilema would never be President appear to be in tandem with the theory of GBM and former Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda who allegdly coined an infamous slogan ‘Tongas takatekepo’ ( A Tonga shall never rule).
President Edgar Lungu’s ethnic hate campaigns have however been largely devoid of how he intends to resolve the economic crisis that has beset a once vibrant economy that is literally on its knees.
Food and fuel prices have trippled while Hospital shelves are empty of drugs with retirees not receiving their pensions, due to misapplication of resources, that are diverted for uneconomic and worthless projects, like buying of luxury jets for President Edgar Lungu and his friends and endless by elections caused by the ruling party.
There’s however growing evidence that Hichilema is getting the ear of majority of ordinary citizens as he propounds a message largely based on the economic emancipation of Zambia. Ethnic attacks from Mr Lungu would therefore not be viewed as surprising by political watchers who feel the President lacks a tangible and realistic message of hope to inspire citizens.