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Where is regional voting going to take Zambia’s politics?

When Edgar Lungu appointed a commission of inquiry to look into the issue regional voting following the 2016 elections, we thought it was a practice he had problems with and wanted to eliminate.

We didn’t think it was something he admired and wanted to politically exploit.

The results of the presidential elections of 2016 were as follows: Southern Province (Hakainde Hichilema 527,893, Edgar Lungu 42,909); Western Province (Hichilema 226,722, Lungu 46,255); North Western Province (Hichilema 208,414, Lungu 28,859); Eastern Province (Hichilema 62,321, Lungu 299,249); Muchinga Province (Hichilema 25,761, Lungu 159,345); Northern Province (Hichilema 63,719, Lungu 218,938); Luapula Province (Hichilema 35,929, Lungu 205,770) Central Province (Hichilema 177,854, Lungu 138,517); Copperbelt Province (Hichilema 189,562, Lungu 345,275) and Lusaka Province (Hichilema 242,172, Lungu 375,760).

Clearly, these presidential election results of 2016 confirm regional voting. But the question is: what has Edgar done to change this voting pattern? What was that Commission of Inquiry and the public funds wasted on it for?

Today Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba – like Dora Siliya, Mpezeni and others before him – says traditional leaders in Eastern Province should not think that all the other nine provinces do not need a president from their regions.

Mwamba tells the people of Eastern Province: “Mamfumu munamwayi maningi, muganiza ati ma province onse nine sibafuna President? Tifuna President (headmen, you are lucky, you think all the nine provinces do not want a President? We want a President)…Here, let me tell you, where the President comes from, that’s where we expect a lot of votes. We want in the next election, this province to lead because that’s where the President comes from. Did you see how we voted for [Michael] Sata? Didn’t Muchinga give Sata a lot of votes? Didn’t Northern give Sata a lot of votes? That’s how we should live. Let’s stop playing with politics, let’s stop playing with votes. Let’s give our child massive votes.”

Given this, why shouldn’t the Tonga people and other tribes of Southern Province be told to vote for Hakainde only? Why shouldn’t the Sala, Lenje and Soli people of Central and Lusaka provinces be told to vote for Hakainde only?

Why shouldn’t the people of Luapula Province be told to vote for Harry Kalaba only?

Why shouldn’t the people of Northern and Muchinga provinces be told to vote for Dr Fred M’membe, Pastor Nevers Mumba, Chishimba Kambwili or Felix Mutati only? Why shouldn’t the people of Western Province be told to vote for Dr M’membe only? Why shouldn’t the Toka-Leya people of Southern Province be told to vote Dr M’membe only? Why shouldn’t the Lunda, Luvale, Chokwe, Luchazi and Kaonde people of North Western Province be told to vote for Dr M’membe only?

Where will this type of voting take Zambia’s politics?

We shouldn’t forget that what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

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