Chishimba Kambwili had to be expelled from the Patriotic Front by Edgar Lungu for him to realise that his utterances were offensive to the citizens of this country who see themselves as belonging to the Tonga ethnicity or hailing from Southern Province.
Did it really need Kambwili to be expelled from the Patriotic Front for him to realise that his statements were offending and hurting his fellow citizens?
Kambwili last year said the Tongas cannot vote for Jesus if he stood in that part of Zambia on the basis of his tribe. Why did Kambwili say such words? At that time, Kambwili was Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and it was politically beneficial for him to say such things as it endeared him to Edgar. Such statements were in line or in tune with Edgar’s political line. It was a matter of political opportunism for Kambwili. And today Kambwili is saying in “the spirit of unity and reconciliation”, he would soon visit Southern Province chiefs to formally apologise for the statement he issued against Tongas. “The expression that what is happening even if Jesus was to stand, the Southerners will not vote for him, I have heard so many expressions, people condemning this statement. Let me unreservedly apologise for the sentiment. I apologise to the people of Southern Province for that sentiment,” says
Kambwili. “But what we need is to run away from regional or tribal voting because some tribes in Zambia are less than 40,000 people. Intelligent people who can be president but if we are going to vote on tribal lines, it will mean that smaller tribes will not produce leaders and that will be very unfortunate for Zambia. I expect that people must be voting based on the ability of the leader to perform but if people are going to vote because Kambwili is Bemba and all Bembas must therefore vote for Chishimba Kambwili, then this country will degenerate into tribal conflicts and might end up like what happened in Kenya and Rwanda. But I unreservedly apologise to the people of Southern Province.”
Why is Kambwili today apologising? Again, it is political opportunism that is propelling Kambwili to apologise and not contrition or a change of heart. This apology of Kambwili has very little, if not nothing, to do “with the spirit of reconciliation and unity”; it’s more about political expediency, political survival. There’s no contrition on Kambwili’s part; it’s all about trying to broaden his political base and acceptability, forging new alliances in his fight with Edgar. It’s not that Kambwili has discovered new wisdom, a new spirit and is a new political man. He is simply a cameleon trying to blend himself with the changed political environment he today finds himself in.
But we all know that even the colours of a chameleon are for survival, not beauty or principle. However, a chameleon can only change its colour but never changes its skin – the chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colour to match the chameleon. But the problem with chameleoning your way through life is that it gets to the point where nothing is real.
And it’s not only the Tongas or the people of Southern Province Kambwili offended or hurt and owes an apology. Non-Tongas and non-southerners suffered a lot of stress from hearing or listening to his senseless, reckless, rotten tribal political kerfuffle. Kambwili owes these people an apology as well.
Kambwili also offended Christians by his blasphemous use of Jesus’ name in cheap tribal politics. What did Kambwili think of Christ? Kambwili owes Christ and Christians an apology. It’s very difficult to understand and appreciate what Kambwili is apologising for. In one breadth he is apologising, in another he is justifying his position. Why apologise for something that is right? Why apologise for showing your true feelings? When you do, you are apologising for the truth!