VICE-PRESIDENT Mutale Nalumango says there are witches and thieves in every tribe.
This was after Mitete UPND member of parliament Misheck Mutelo asked her to counsel the nation on the dangers of tribalism.
“Your Honour the Vice-President, we need to heal as a nation. There’s too much tribal remarks going on in Zambia. What could be your counsel to Zambia, for we are one?” asked Mutelo during the Vice-President’s Question Time in parliament yesterday.
In response, Vice-President Nalumango acknowledged that indeed “we are truly one; we are One Zambia One Nation”.
“The last thing you want to hear is to hear tribal thinking, particularly from leaders. We should never be remembered as people that divided our nation on tribal lines. We have an opportunity by being members of parliament today that we can work together to ensure that we unite,” she said. “As UPND in our manifesto and UPND in government [our view] is that it is important, imperative that we unite; we once again feel the oneness. No tribe can be condemned because in every tribe there are witches, in every tribe there are thieves. In every tribe there are everything you can think of. So, there’s no tribe which can be described as bad. Let us accept one another; we are One Zambia One Nation.’’
She said it was sad that the nation had been left to think on tribal lines for too long.
Vice-President Nalumango said no one should use tribe to hide their wrongs.
“There is no way people should start thinking tribal and talk tribal. We have left ourselves to think tribal for too long. Let us once more see each other in the eyes of being a Zambian created by God, put on the earth through this nation of Zambia,” she added. “Always what happens [is that] you want to appeal to tribal sentiments. This government sees us as one. You’re using the tribe to hide your own wrongs! Zambians are very much awake and they observe and they know.”
Vice-President Nalumango warned her colleagues in government against peddling tribalism, adding that UPND risked being voted out.
“If we choose to go the wrong way, they (Zambians) will not stand with us. We are in government today, let us do the right thing. When you do wrong things they will follow you, even your village-mates will turn against you because you are the one who is wrong, not the tribe. There is no tribe which does wrong, we are all Zambians,” Vice-President Nalumango emphasised.
And as a follow-up, Zambezi East UPND member of parliament Brian Kambita wondered why government was taking long to remove PF cadres from State institutions such as Zesco.
“Your Honour the Vice-President, the PF manifesto is very clear. It states clearly that in senior positions in parastatals and government institutions they will put their members. Therefore, the same management whom we feel could be sabotaging Zesco are PF cadres,” said Kambita. “Why is our government so slow to remove these PF cadres? As we speak, the same managing director at Zesco [Victor Mundende] is still the one in charge. How do you expect load shedding to come to an end if we still keep these PF cadres in these important offices; including many other government offices, including the directors? Why are we not removing PF cadres from senior positions?”
In response, Vice-President Nalumango said the government would act at the right time.
“…yes, the concern is out there that there are many chief executives and other senior members in government that could be, as he said, coming from the constitution of the Patriotic Front where it’s clearly stated that to hold certain positions you have to be an uncompromising member of the Patriotic Front; that is in there,” she said. “And therefore, people may have been put there professionally, but that statement simply removes all the confidence in these officials that are running institutions of government because of what is there. So, we are looking at this. Not just to wake up and say everybody go! No, we will not do that. We hear the concerns of the Zambians. At the right time, Madam Speaker, because we want to do everything professionally, they will surely go. I think we did state here, politically appointed, politically removed. So, even when you are sitting in any position you know that you are there because… So, truly Zambians are concerned because it is important that in strategic positions, people are put there that understand the vision; that are not fighting the vision of the government of the day because of the bias towards, may be, a party that may not be in office. So, we will do it.”
On the slowness to clean up the public offices, Vice-President Nalumango defended the government.
“On the fact that we are slow, they may have been appointed because of the clause in their own constitution of the previous regime. But for us we want to do everything according to the legal provisions of our own national statutes,” she said. “We don’t want to remove people anyhow. We have to look at what they are doing. We have to look at their contracts, we have to look at their capability and the capacity to adapt.”
And Vice-President Nalumango said it was the responsibility of the Minister of Energy, Peter Kapala to appoint a new board at Zesco which should in-turn hire new management.
“He has referred, Madam Speaker, to the issue of Zesco. The appointment of Zesco is not up to the President. Appointing of the Zesco management or director is not done by the President. It is done by the board,” Vice-President Nalumango explained. “And therefore, the responsibility of the Minister is to have the board in place. And we have not been running to just put there, fill these boards with cadres, we want professional work. And therefore, [once] Zesco has had the board appointed, so if there is need to remove the current MD it shall be done and be done properly. That goes for every other official, senior official sitting in government office, they’ll be removed properly; lawfully. We are not going to be lawbreakers.”
She said the government expected public workers to serve the people instead of their political interests.
“But surely, we expect people still in offices to function for Zambia and not to act like saboteurs. Because if you do something wrong, you are not doing that wrong thing against President Hakainde [Hichilema]. You are doing something wrong against the Zambian people. So, as long as you remain there, before you are removed if you are to be remove, do the work properly,” Vice-President Nalumago advised.
Earlier, Mporokoso PF member of parliament Brian Mundubile asked why there was load shedding in the nation despite massive investment PF had put in the energy sector.
“Your Honour, the Vice-President, the power supply in the recent past has been very stable owing to the huge investment that the PF government put in the energy sector to ensure that there was sustainable energy supply. This is a fact that even the current Minister of Energy attested to, that there has been indeed huge investment in the sector,” said Mundubile. “Now, Madam Vice-President, we have seen long hours of load shedding in the recent past, something that has disturbed our small and medium enterprises that depend on electricity. My question to your, Your Honour the Vice-President [is], what is your government doing to resolve this problem?”
In response, Vice-President Nalumango said the matter was indeed of national concern.
“He premises his question on what he says as heavy investment having been put in place. And that being the case, Madam Speaker, all of us must be concerned as to what is happening. If there is so much investment and assurance that there is enough power being generated, that should be some issue of concern,” said Vice-President Nalumango. “And as a government we are following up, this is a management issue. What we have been told is that we have some upgrading and servicing of some generating machines. That includes Kafue Hydro, that includes Maamba Collieries, and I think in Ndola. I don’t know how that kind…should go on. We are concerned and we intend, Madam Speaker, to have a ministerial statement given so that all the detail is brought out.”