Sara Imutowana Yeta II
It must be said from the outset that here is nothing wrong with tribalism as a state of existing as a tribe or having strong feelings of loyalty to one’s tribe or ethnic group.
In Zambia, like in many other countries, we are first organised as tribes before other mass identities. This is because our evolution primarily occurred in tribes or clans with our respective ancestors.
What I am saying is that tribes are as old as human history, therefore older than the colonial artefact called Zambia that only came into existence in 1964. This means that tribes are more natural as opposed to the State. This explains why we can easily renounce our nationality, but we cannot renounce our tribe because tribe is a natural identity.
For that reason, it is natural to maintain our tribal networks. This is what makes tribalism good because we are drawn to our group identities because of genetic programming and need to belong and survive.
Therefore, critical to tribal living is our cultural ancestry and not minimal geographic movement, explaining why tribes are built with people who are similar and related.
This means that we are naturally built to survive with tribal support. Put simply, tribalism is good and in our blood.
However, the problem is when tribalism makes people’s thoughts and actions exalt their tribes above other tribes and national identity.
For example, not long ago Bembas in PF; Nkandu Luo, Bizwell Mutale and Chanda Nyela were openly preaching bad tribalism against Tongas. Last week, another Bemba in PF, Christopher Yaluma was also preaching tribalism against the same ethnic group.
It is therefore clear that Bembas in PF are using bad tribalism as their 2021 election campaign strategy. They know that the current appalling socio-economic conditions caused by their poor leadership will make it difficult for their tribe mates to vote for them to retain power.
Therefore, their only strategy to stop an electoral revolt in their strongholds is to promote fear of Tongas. As we all know, fear is a very strong tool that can blur people’s thinking and logic.
Therefore, they want the Bemba block to vote using a method that does not use rational, and logical thought process because this can allow their block to reflect on facts and truths about their poor socio-economic performance.
Their aim is change the behaviour of their tribe mates contemplating of voting for UPND because of the sufferings they are experiencing. They are determined to make their tribe mates turn into illogical ruthless weapons, in service to their desire to remain in power.
This strategy is informed by their understanding that the roots of fear are deep in people’s core psychological and biological being. This explains why most of civil wars in Africa are caused by fear of other tribes.
Hence their strategy is to teach their tribe mates fear of Tongas. And there is no best way to learn than learning from members of our species when trying to take advantage of an opportunity for power.
Besides, it is an observable fact that we tend to trust our tribe mates when it comes to threats, perceived or otherwise. This way we accumulate knowledge about other tribes, right or wrong. Of course, there has always been competition for power between groups in different ways, from Kaunda’s time.
But what Bembas in PF are practicing is not only bad tribalism but dangerous because it has potential of making people’s brains respond differently at a subconscious level to Tongas. They are taking advantage of the fact that people at the tribal level are more emotional and consequently less logical.
When people are afraid, it is easy to regress to tribalism that would lead to the Bemba block uniting to fight Tongas. It is therefore clear that Bembas in PF are banking on the biological and psychological loophole of tribalism to retain power by carelessly tapping into their tribe mates’ fears and tribal instincts. They are ready to give Tongas a different label than them, and ready to preach that a Tonga president is going to treat Bembas waywardly or abuse national resources, something the PF are guilty of.
This unrealistic fear is promoted to turn Tongas into a concept. Is this what Chitimukulu meant when he said that “muzakamuziba yesu” if you are led by another tribe?
Watch the space!
By 2021, Bembas in PF would have created a Bemba block that viscerally hates Tongas.
What we are witnessing among Bembas in PF is the human animal in action.
Some of us live with Tongas, talk to them and eat with them, and we know that Bembas in PF are lying to their tribe mates about Tongas.
Surely, we can compete for power without invoking fear of other tribes because fear oftentimes bypasses logic. There are several reasons. One is that logic is slow; fear is fast. In situations of threat, people are fast such that the first thing they do is to kill, and think later.
If nothing is done, it is possible that a day will come when sermons by Bembas in PF on bad tribalism will get hold of their tribe mates’ fear circuitry, and regress to illogical, and aggressive human animals, and become weapons to be used for their narrow agenda to cleanse Tongas.
How long will the Bemba block being incited, and those being bullied stay angry without taking the law into their own hands?
Countrymen and women, no tribe or ethnic group should be allowed to foster the bullying and scapegoating of other tribes.