COLONEL Panji Kaunda says the PF has turned tribalism as a core subject to disenfranchise fellow Zambians from Southern Province.
And former high commissioner to Australia George Kanyamula Zulu says the ruling party has diverted from its original ideals.
Featuring on Breeze FM on Saturday evening, Col Panji who endorsed the UPND-Alliance said tribalism is worse than the Coronavirus.
“My party, PF has turned tribalism as a core subject to disenfranchise fellow Zambians. They say ‘they should not rule because they are from Tongaland’. Zambians must say no to such politics,” he said. “They are on video. You have heard them say ‘these Tongas cannot rule’. Why? Where are they going to rule if they cannot rule Zambia? Look at what happened around us in Africa – in Rwanda they lost one million people because Tutsi’s and Hutus were fighting each other. Today as we sit here, Ethiopia is up in flames. Tigrayans and other tribes in other regions are fighting.”
Col Panji said the PF is taking a dangerous path by engaging in tribal campaigns.
“This is a very dangerous path we are taking as PF and the President has not come up to say ‘this is not me’. And by silence I am assuming that he is agreeable with what the Chishimba’s and other people are saying in his name or on his behalf,” he noted.
Col Panji said UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was not a tribalist but that he was a good leader.
“I have worked with Hakainde myself. I was once a UPND person after we failed to do the UDA arrangement. So I know him personally. I don’t think he is a tribalist. By virtue of him coming from Southern Province, that does not disqualify him from being President. He is a good man,” he said. “I know he will not get involved into corruption and tribal issues. Let’s try him! If he fails, we will tell him so like I am telling my colleagues from PF now. Tribalism is a cancer which has no cure. It’s worse than the virus we have now. For the virus, you can find the cure because there is a vaccine but for tribalism it leads to bloodshed and killing each other.”
Col Panji said Zambians should look at a person as an individual and the calibre and not where one comes from.
“Someone who comes up and start preaching tribalism, it means he has lost his way and Zambians must say no to such people. So, it doesn’t matter who leads the people. What we want is calibre,” he said. “If he can lead this country to a better future, if the answer is yes, then let’s put him there. Mainza Chona was Tonga, Mungoni Liso was Tonga. They were
very good Southern Province people who built this country. Without Southern Province there could be no Zambia today.”
Col Panji said he had worked with the UPND and believed that its ideals are suitable for Zambia.
“I believe that from HH’s experience as an economist, from what he has achieved as an individual, he can be able to use those experiences to build the country’s economy because without the economy growing then there is no Zambia,” he said. “Today we have issues of youths who are not employed and we have turned them into cadres to kill each other because there is no job.”
On people assertions that Hichilema cannot manage as President because he has never served in other party structure positions, Col Panji said even President Edgar Lungu had no experience as republican president when he came in as President.
“What experience did Edgar Lungu have as President? What experience did Kenneth Kaunda have when he was coming in as President? They had none, everybody learns from somewhere. What experience did [Donald] Trump have as President of USA? So, there is no formula that requires one to be President. So, everyone can be President so long you are able to perform to the best of the ability of God,” Col Panji said.
When asked by a caller that he was just seeking for employment by backing the UPND Alliance, Col Panji said his father was in government for 27 years but did not appoint his children in government positions.
“My father was in government for almost 27 years. In 27 years not once did he appoint us his children in ministerial positions apart from the last years when he appointed Major Wezi Kaunda as deputy minister of home affairs,” he said. “I am a trained soldier. I went to the best school in the world Sandhurst (Royal Military Academy in UK). In other countries I could have been army commander because I was trained. It is not the question of looking for employment but service. If I was to steal, I should have stolen when my father was president because he had all the powers because there was no opposition that time. I had access to the monies that you would want in the world. Today I would have been flirting in Dubai enjoying the loot.”
Col Panji said he was starving like anybody else because he was told to be honest.
And Zulu said the PF has diverted from its original ideals.
“Now the biggest thing that is hurting is the corruption. Corruption in this country has become a culture. Everybody goes to the Patriotic Front. The MMD left their offices, they came to join the PF and they are campaigning not because they want to serve the Zambian people but because they want to serve themselves,” he said. “If HH had done well in his business, they had said that he had stolen during the privatisation, the privatisation which was not done under the PF government – it was done under the MMD government.”
Zulu said it was absurd that the PF government is the one which is finding something wrong with the privatisation process when the MMD did not find anything wrong.
“If there was anybody to cry about the privatisation, it was supposed to be UNIP because UNIP built those things. UNIP built the Livingstone motor assembly, Lenco, UBZ – they built everything that a nation requires to develop but the MMD came and sold these things,” he noted. “This man (HH) was just hired. Even President Lungu was also hired in the privatisation. So they hired competent men in the privatisation including President Lungu, by the MMD government. Now it is unfortunate that those who didn’t participate are pointing fingers at one person that he stole leaving others who were in the privatisation including
some ministers,” he said.
Zulu said the privatisation issue was neither here nor there because the people are looking at who is going to serve them better.
“I am convinced that HH will do a better job because he has done a better job in his personal capacity. So we believe that he brings in his acumen to the national fora. So we need to support him. So we are here to support the alliance which also has people coming from the PF,” said Zulu.