Mansa Catholic Diocese Bishop Patrick Chisanga says Zambia must celebrate its diversity of tribes, political parties and opinions. Bishop Chisanga says there is no tribe that is better or worse than the other save for being different and that there was no reason to cause any segregation, speak carelessly, look down or despise any tribal grouping but to treat each person with respect and dignity no matter what region they come from.
“Diversity is the creation of God. The same God that created us diverse as we are, is the same God that makes us united. We have to celebrate our diversity in unity; like the diversity of tribes, diversity of political parties, diversity of opinions, ideas,”says Bishop Chisanga.
“Zambians must welcome in their community any person who may not belong to their tribe as a sign of being united yet living in diversity. In all corners of Zambia let us accept people coming from any other part of the country. And people from that community should receive any civil servant from any part of the country.”
Diversity is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, which include tribe, race, religion and creed, to name but a few. As ever-evolving creatures in an ever-changing world, the innumerable aspects of our humanity – all our ways of being, knowing and moving through the world – are contained in this one concept.
As human beings, we are revealed and make ourselves known to one another by infinite varieties of intelligence, language, values, politics, religion, national service, gender presentation, philosophy and a host of other elements common to humankind. The recognition of a common humanity is the first step in the celebration of our differences – differences that inform our cultures, our values, our minds, and all our ways of being in the world. Diversity is the chief informant of the creative life force and the central reality in our understanding and stewardship of it.
Put simply, today is a chance to find out more about what we have in common rather than what separates us as a people, a nation.
Diversity is about learning to accept people from all different cultures, tribes, races and backgrounds for the beautiful uniqueness that makes everyone an important part of our nation. Let’s notice the diversity that surrounds us in our everyday life and cherish it.
Learning to think positively about diversity and to see the beauty in people’s differences is one of the best ways to celebrate diversity in our daily life.
Many have complained that the ascendancy of tribal or regional identity politics is threatening to destroy our Republic.
The failure of our politics to develop clear campaign issues is making some of our people increasingly feel as if they have no choice but to embrace the identity politics to be on the winning side.
Our politics should not be about an ‘in group’ trying to de-legitimise and shame members of an ‘out group’ by calling them names. Rather, it should be about the clash of ideas — about justice and fairness and the trade-off between freedom and equality. And the more tribal our politics is, the less rational and enlightened public debate has become.
Tribalism is pervasive, and it controls a lot of some of our people’s behaviour, readily overriding reason. Look at the many inhuman things being done in the name of tribal unity! People are complaining about the purging or tribal cleansing of our public sector by retiring in national interest or outright dismissals of people from Southern, Western and North Western provinces
Many people feel what is going on in our public sector is essentially, and often quite specifically, tribalism – wipe out the other groups from the public sector to keep our group in control and safe! And this, it would seem, has been taken to madness.
Tribalism makes us feel that our tribe is better than others’. Tribalism makes parents end contact with their own children when they dare marry someone of a different tribe. It also leads to denial of basic truths when they challenge tribal beliefs!
Bishop Chisanga’s call to celebrate diversity is a timely and sobering reflection on the highly divisive politics going on in our country in these unsettled and threateningly uncertain times.