Former First Lady Dr Maureen Mwanawasa has defended accusations of tribalism in the opposition UPND.
Dr Mwanawasa observed that accusations that the UPND is a tribal group are peddled by people with selfish interests wishing to divide the nation.
She said the notion that the UPND promotes tribalism is a myth which should be dismissed.
Dr Mwanawasa also refuted sentiments that she decided to endorse UPD leader Hakainde Hichilema for next week’s presidential election because of the Bantu Botatwe element.
Dr Mwanawasa was speaking on a special radio programme on Hot FM Sunday evening as part of her campaigns for the UPND.
‘I am a Zambian, I may be from the Bantu Botatwe but UPND is a national party and you expect all tribes in there and am proud to belong to the UPND. This issue of tribalism is a myth and should be dismissed,’ Dr Mwanawasa stated.
She charged that Mr. Hichilema could have long been President of Zambia had it not been for his tribe.
‘If this country was being run without political parties where we just choose leaders because they are able to, we would still have chosen Mr. Hichilema out of the 11 candidates,’ she said.
Dr Mwanawasa stated that the issue of tribalism in the UPND is being perpetuated in order to divert attention from real issues issue such as jobs, the high cost of living and poor governance.
‘Let us stop talking about tribe, if you go into that issue you will find that the ruling party is even more tribal. Just look at the composition of their cabinet. If you analyse infrastructure development in the last three years, you will see that Muchinga Province has two universities while there is no university in Northwestern, there is no university in Lambaland.’
She added, ‘When President Mwanawasa wanted to show that he was not tribal, he took the biggest infrastructural development project of his administration to Luapula Province, he gave them the bridge which was essential for economic development of that area.’