CHIEF Mukuni has praised President Edgar Lungu for condemning hate speech perpetrated by his own party, the Patriotic Front.
But Mukuni whose chiefdom cuts across Kazungula, Livingstone and Zimba districts is saddened that the PF rally addressed by deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri, PF national mobilisation deputy chairperson Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and member of the central committee Kebby Mbewe only encouraged youths to hate.
In a statement, Mukuni urged President Lungu to encourage the police to arrest those spreading hate speech.
“I am pleased to note that in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament, President Edgar Lungu has condemned hate speech which for all intents and purposes has been practiced by his own party,” Mukuni said. “The President’s words will give confidence and hope to the nation if he demonstrates his seriousness over the matter by dismissing government and party leaders that took part in the hate speech recently.”
He encouraged the PF leadership to preach peace and national unity.
Mukuni said for a change the PF needs to avoid ethnic hate speech against the people of Southern Province, which tragically has characterised the ruling party, especially during the Chilubi Constituency by-election in the Northern Province a few weeks ago.
“Let them attentively listen to President Edgar Lungu’s SONA address and change their behaviour. I sincerely believe that Zambian citizens of all tribes, race, religions and political persuasions, must feel safe and welcome anywhere in Zambia because these are the shared values with which president Kenneth David Kaunda, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and other founding fathers and mothers, founded Zambia upon. This is the Zambian spirit,” he said. “As a traditional leader, I rule over a multifaceted population of different tribes, races, national and regional backgrounds. In these communities are people that practice Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Bahai Faith, traditional African ancestral religions, but all live in harmony with each other. This is who we are as Zambians, and going foward this is who we should be.”
Mukuni added that he does not like hearing politicians say ‘this one is from this tribe and therefore isn’t fit for the presidency’.
“Or ‘these people from this or that tribe are like this or that animal’, utterances that cast aspersions and dehumanise fellow citizens who have no prerogatives to choose which tribe or region to be born from. I will feel extremely troubled and alarmed, and will spare no effort in condemning such behaviour, that has potential to cause citizens to rise against fellow citizens. I strongly feel that all traditional leaders right across Zambia must not be silent but vehemently disapprove such conduct,” he said.
And in an interview, Mukuni said the PF leaders at a youth rally held in Livingstone on Saturday failed to show that President Lungu hates tribal talk as the speakers especially Mbewe and Mwamba resorted to hate speech against the Tonga speaking people.
“I detested the notion by Mr Kebby Mbewe that this country is not looking for a Tonga President and GBM analysis of the 2016 elections and asking who was tribal between the Bemba and the Tonga. This is inciting hatred among Zambians,” said Mukuni.