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WE ARE ALL CONGOLESE…why the issue of tribalism, asks M’membe

FRED M’membe says tribalism is sometimes a product of both ignorance and stupidity.

He promises that his would be a collective presidency, stressing that, “Without sharing power with others, we are in trouble. Even as politicians, we shouldn’t think that power just lies with us, no!”

“Tribalism is a product of sometimes ignorance, sometimes stupidity [and] sometimes a combination of both stupidity and ignorance,” Dr M’membe, the Socialist Party presidential candidate, said on Diamond TV’s ‘Know your candidate’ programme aired on Wednesday night.

“If you know your origins, if you realise where we are coming from, you’ll realise that we are all one people in this country.”

He added: “and not only in this country but even in the neighbouring countries.”

“We are the same people with the people in Malawi. We are the same people with the people in Zimbabwe. We are the same people with the people in Congo. We are all Congolese! Why the issue of tribalism?” Dr M’membe said.

He noted that people ought to treat others on the basis of their conduct, not on the basis of their tribe, ethnicity, race or even religion.

“Treat every human being on the basis of their own behaviour, their own conduct. If you don’t like a Bemba today, you may not like me. I have done you no wrong, but simply because you don’t like Bembas you turn against me, because I’m Bemba,” he said. “If you don’t like Tongas today, you may not like me because I’m Toka-Leya – I’m close to the Tongas. If you don’t like Lozis, you may not like me [but] I’ve not done anything wrong to you. But simply because I’m Lozi…Is that fair? Is that the way we should treat each other?”

Dr M’membe underscored that it was absurd, inhumane, and stupid to treat anybody on the basis of their tribe and race.

He also indicated that power deforms a human being, adding that he is not fighting to go into power.

“[But] I have been deployed. As socialists you don’t aspire to get to an office. You are deployed by your comrades,” Dr M’membe explained. “I never applied to be the president of the Socialist Party. It took a year and four months for my comrades to convince me to take up this leadership position. It’s not something that I have taken up lightly [but] it’s a responsibility that I have to shoulder.”

Asked if his presidency would not be anchored on vengeance on those who wronged him in the past, Dr M’membe answered that: “the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty.”

“Power that you cannot control, power that you have no breaks over is dangerous. Power shouldn’t be something that is personal for you to enjoy, for you to use,” he said. “Once you have that concept where you see power as something personal that you can utilise to deal with others wrongly or rightly, you’ll have a problem.”

He said his would be a collective presidency.

“You’ll not see the type of President that you have seen. This will be a President who is not even able to pick a Cabinet on his own,” Dr M’membe noted. “All institutions deposit power in individuals quite often. But you have to learn to share that power with others. The Chitimukulu may have power deposited in him by the Bemba traditional system, but that power is shared with others.”

Dr M’membe continued, saying: “even in a family, you have the power as a father but you share that power with others – even with your youngest child.”

“There is no law that is written for you to share that power with your youngest child but you share it. Power must be shared with others!” he stressed. “Without sharing power with others, we are in trouble. Even as politicians, we shouldn’t think that power just lies with us. No!”

He further pointed out that leadership does not just lie with politicians.

“We have other leaders in the country. We have chiefs, village headmen, sub-chiefs, religious leaders and a myriad of other community leaders. Power must be shared with them,” noted Dr M’membe.

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