The Ghost of Tribal Mistrust—Blame the Tongas, Blame the Bembas

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An unidentified polling officer ushers a voter into the Kanyama ward polling centre
An unidentified polling officer ushers a voter into the Kanyama ward polling centre

In 1969, South African popular author Credo Mutwa argued that the Bantu do not forgive and forget. Unlike Jesus who taught that “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also,” the Bantu will wait until you look the other side before striking your cheek twice as hard, so the prophetic Mutwa argued. Based on this theory, he predicted the Rwanda genocide in which the Hutu tribe rose against the Tutsi in 1994.

The 2015 election clearly showed how the ghost of tribal mistrusts over 50 years ago still haunts us. Kenneth Kaunda’s rise to power and subsequent defeat of Harry M. Nkumbula is definitely behind the ill tribal feelings between the Southerners (Westerners) and Northerners (Easterners).

Until 1973, these provinces voted for their own—wako ni wako—the caliber of the leader mattered less.

Let us face it–the 2015 elections shamefully exposed the ethnic divisions in our beloved nation—people voted based on tribal stereotypes. In fact, many Bembas denied HH their votes simply because he is Tonga. Similarly, the Tongas saw and come 2016 will see nobody on the ballot but their own–HH. So unless we change, Zambia’s future is very precarious.
I predicted President Edgar Lungu’s victory based on the number of candidates, the tribal nature of Zambian politics, limited voters and other advantages the PF enjoyed; and for sure, the UPND lost. But the biggest loser in this election is not HH but the MMD and the nation—raising critical questions as to how the Mumba led Party will reorganize for the 2016 elections. Is this the death of the MMD as a political party? Kaya!

our electoral rules are anti-voter friendly, anti-student, and disqualify many people from casting their ballots.


It is too early to conclude that the UPND has penetrated Zambia since the MMD dissolved – it voted for either PF or UPND. While both parties maintained their strongholds, they benefitted from the MMD votes—making the election so competitive. In fact, the minimal gains for the PF in the UPND strongholds and vice versa were mostly due to the MMD votes. So unless the MMD permanently dissolves and joins PF or UPND, the outcome of 2016 elections is any one’s guess.

The small “margin” of the PF victory can suggest that HH will easily win the 2016 elections. Nonetheless, unlike the 2015 elections, the 2016 tripartite elections will introduce new voters while Councilors, MPs, and the President will be campaigning for their jobs. Thus, we expect much higher voter turnout than 2015. Besides, as the adoption of MPs draws near, some rebel MPs who endorsed EL or HH may be forced to switch sides in 2016, or go independent if they are not adopted. And if we demand 50 + 1, small parties will play a critical role in the outcome of the 2016 elections.

Justice Irene Mambilima was right—if the election was stolen from HH, UPND was part of it. This does not mean HH must concede. But if his case rests solely on the Muvi TV and Zambian Watchdog pollsters, then he should fire his strategists. In our 50 years history, no presidential candidate has won by 82%. Frankly, normal social scientists would have dismissed such polls with ultimate contempt.

Relatedly, the 2015 elections exposed the inanity of Zambia’s electoral rules. The Zambian soccer team, for example, is flying the national flag at the Africa Cup of Nations. However, the entire entourage was denied the right to vote. Similarly, all those in diplomatic positions or resident in other parts of the world were disqualified from casting their votes. As we move towards the 50 + 1 vote in 2016, one vote can make a difference between losing or winning the election.

Justice Mambilima’s request for extra powers for the Electoral Commission of Zambia needs supporting, but so does the electorate. Post-jubilee Zambia needs to make voting easy. Out of 5,166,084 registered voters, less than a third (1,671,662) voted. In Raised Hopes, Shattered Dreams, I argue that our electoral rules are anti-voter friendly, anti-student, and disqualify many people from casting their ballots. The country does not allow early or absentee voting, but requires people to vote in person and to go back to where they registered to cast their votes. Besides, why should we continue to waste money on voters’ cards—is the National Registration Card not enough?
Madam Mambilima, time has come to make voting easy—every qualified citizen needs extra powers to access the ballot!

By Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma

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111 COMMENTS

  1. Very true my bro. Every person must be given chance to vote. But come 2016 , Zambians will turn in great numbers to vote in the spirit of Southern province.

    Peace and Prosperity to Mother Zambia.

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    • It is sad you are talking for Southern province after reading this article. If Bemba’s were tribal they would have voted for Nevers Mumba. Mumba actually lost in Chinsali. A shock if HH could have lost in his native land???

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    • Please leave out Bembas in this thing. Bembas rejected Mumba for Lungu.Is this being tribal? HH got good votes from Northern than Mumba. Are they still Tribal? If anything this fight is now between Easteners and Tongas. If u Tongas are clever, you should have realized that this is the time to penetrate the Bemba land now that the current President is not Bemba but alas, you keep on insulting them instead of making peace. You guys are not politicians no wonder you keep on failing and predicting that you will win by 85% margin. Politics is about numbers not education or riches.

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    • Ba Kaoma how can you say come 2016 HH will win easily.? You think new entrants to vote will only be in Southern,Western and N/Western.? If anything 2016 will prove more difficult for HH than the 2015 elections… Did you factor in Lungu’s performance in this 1 year.? If Lungu performs well that will have a serious dent on HH so take a chill pill. Neo Simutanyi told us that HH would win…EISH

      But you are correct on a number of issues, though Eastern gave HH more votes than Southern gave Lungu… its a pity.

      Viva EL Viva PF

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    • We cannot ague the facts or vilify the author for raising what is clearly evident – Tribalism in Zambia is growing.
      Therefore lets acknowledge this sad fact, unite in our condemnation while pointing out where the author has got it wrong in his analysis. He has atleast taken the bull by its horns and spoken out while some of us would have been happy to turn a blind eye and carry on.
      UPND has to do more to “bring the party to national appeal” and that will only happen with a change of leadership and putting it into the hands of someone other than a Tonga.
      Sadly we cant have two Presidents to satisfy the Tonga’s desire to lead Zambia and only when a credible and unifying figure emerges from their ranks, will Zambians vote for one.

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    • Bembas are not tribal hence they voted for Edgar Lungu and rejected their own son Nevers Mumba.
      The problem is with Tongas they have negative complex and only history will tell. Nkumbula lost to KK, then VJ lost to Michael Sata.
      The truth of the matter is that Bemba is the largest tribal clan in Zambia hence one has to gun support to be President. Edgar spent good time with them campaigning than in Southern Province, in short Bembas are king makers.

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    • This is very f00lish article. Bembas are not tribal. Why did they fail to vote for their own Mumba for the MMD.

      This is all F00lish articulation my dear.

      Just point to the tribal Tongas who can cause genocide once elected to state house as their brains are clogged with tribe and hatred for other tribes.

      We made a very big mistake in western province to vote for their tonga HH.

      Wait for 2016 Elections.

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    • PF is a Bemba sponsored party. Bembas nominated Lungu for the presidency, when they sensed the threat from UPND, so that they can have some help from the Easterners. That explains when Bemba land voted overwhelmingly for Lungu. Therefore, the author is spot on when he says bembas are tribal.

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  2. The more you talk about tribalism the longer it will stay. Tribalism is bad as racism,it is very unfortunately even people who claim to be educated in Zambia still think in tribal lines.

    Always Zambain people will decide and elect their disired President.

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    • As your name suggests I agree with you as I don’t see this tribal talk ending any time soon and the social scientists seem to lack analytical capacity to enlighten us on its persistence.

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    • Those deliberately hunting for tribalism in Zambia will find it. They will always be able to see it under a microscope or any magnifying glass.

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  3. You buffoons leave bembas alone. The election was between a Tonga and a Chewa. HH got reasonable votes from Bemba Speaking provinces but Tonga and Lozi areas were very tribal. getting 98% for HH in southern province is a cause for concern really. In Kalomo where PF are building the most expensive road in Africa, they gave PF next to zero vote. Is that normal. Get to the real problem and leave bembas alone

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    • You are right….get to roots of this divide.

      Its not just the Tongas who voted for HH….the rest of the 45 tribes in North Western Rhodesia voted for him.

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    • If the voting pattern for 2016, be like the just ended election, I don’t see HH winning. This time around, HH will not get a single vote in Northern. Because they have been shown how to vote tribal, by Southern and Western.

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    • Spot on, the author is been biased here. HH was voted for in most of the provinces but like at southern province the way they voted. Tongas have a big problem. no wonder Lungu won this election.

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    • Sorry boyi, i come from Kalomo, what PF are building is not a road but a big modern hospital just along choonga road! get your facts right!!

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    • Point of correction… it wsnt 0% at no point did PF get such in any area. Its sad u fail 2 see his point. Its tru… these elections hav shown that that the tribalism in this country is well and truelly alive. Tongas beliv its time som1 4rm their area needs 2 also hav his/ her turn.. The Easterners beliv in Wako ni wako as well. Why should we pretend otherwise and the Bembas voted 4 the party belivd 2b thrz. Nt necessariely becoz of Lungu. The feeling is… MMD is goin down… next PF.

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    • The tribal divide was enforced by the british in the mines. They appointed natives from Barosteland & Nyasaland as clerks & orderlies because those people came from areas where the first mission schools had been established and then other natives from other areas were mostly given the hard labour jobs. The myths of certain tribes being selfish & others being thieves were born here. Unfortunately every govt UNIP, MMD & PF have used the same animosities, myths, fears & mistrust to establish their power. Now the tribal divide is almost boiling over, IF NOT FOR GOD, we would be talking about a different issue. Let us not point fingers, the truth is that the voting trends across the country have been regionalistic since independence & people refuse to see

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    • Habazonda, you seem to be Tonga!! If you are then you are one in thousand with levelheadedness. I mean I agree with you. Southerners (of course some) and Westerners (of course some) need self introspection. Going by the results Northerners and indeed Easterners gave HH more votes than what was given to EL in Southern and Western combined. Who seems to be more tribal?

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    • Which most expensive road in Kalomo is PF building!! Let us comment factually.
      Anyway, President Lungu has started well and do have my support on one thing, appointment of Ms Inonge Wins as vice-president. Whenever the president is from Chewa/Bemba group, its my view for the sake of social cohesion that the vice-president be from Lozi/Tonga/Luvale or related tribe.

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    • Well said my Brother !….Bembas are not Tribal that point is clear make no mistake…..This election has just shown us clearly the true picture of how tribal the tongas are ! even when we new before, but little did we know it was this bad !!

      VIVA H.E EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU PRESIDENT FOR ALL ZAMBIANS

      ONE ZAMBIA ! ONE NATION !

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    • My fellow Bemba countrymen should be magnanimous enough to agree that the majority of them are tribal or harbour ill feelings towards the Tongas. Yes some bembas and Easterners voted for HH but this was due to the excellent work done by GBM, Mutati, Nalumango, Mangani, Victoria K, Levy Ngoma and all the other MPs and chiefs who campaigned for HH. Lungu had no campaign team in Southern province because he made the mistake of sidelining Munkombwe who was the PF minister. This explains why HH got high scores in S province

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    • # Muko sorry I meant the Kalabo road and not Kalomo. The Kalabo road is the most expensive road ever to be built in Africa and yet the people from there voted otherwise.

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    • HABAZONDA, please be reminded that the Mongu-Kalabo Road has nothing to do with PF. This is an MMD project which the PF found already been constructed. The people in Mongu and Kalabo remember the day Yamfwa Mukanga suspended the construction of this same road with the first week Sata appointed him Transport Minister in September 2011. People have long memories. IT is RB and Musokotwane who are seen as the major movers of the Mongu-Kalabo road and the Senanga_Sesheke road.

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    • Like I have stated before on this forum I am not Bemba but this election makes me say the Bembas did not support anyone on tribal lines. There were many Bemba candidates who could have gotten their votes but they didn’t vote for them. Mumba, Chipimo all did badly. The North had votes for HH when Southern had no votes for PF. Bembas even rejected a man who had sided with their King namely GBM

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    • @umwina zed:

      Why would the bembas vote for a fellow Bemba when they are the ones who sponsored Edgar Lungu under PF? Bemba voters were also aware that the contest was between HH & Lungu, so they voted for Lungu massively in order to block HH from wining,.,,this is clearly tribal voting.

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    • the elections were not between chewa( lungu is nsenga) and the tongas but correctly it was between saving a Bemba dominated party from extinction and the most popular kaponya liked guy,EL verse those regions who feel marginalised economically and socially in zambia,represented by HH.

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  4. Good article.

    I think the issue of regionalism lies in a deliberate policy of inclusiveness. Each party must have the top two positions occupied by representatives of the two regions of Zambia: he Southerners (Westerners) and Northerners (Easterners).

    The President should be commended for appointing Inonge Wina. This perhaps could start healing the tribal scars.

    However, the division of resources amongst the producers/owners of Southerners (Westerners) and the largely dependant Northern regions must be addressed.

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    • artificial regional balancing has failed in the past & will fail again & again. How can you appoint a Lozi with no real political clout in Barotseland and believe that healing can take place. It’s like a lozi appointing Nevers Mumba or Lupando Mwape as vice. An honest discussion of issues, listening to each others concerns & a REAL regional balance/representation at all levels of governance is only the starting point. Thank God for sport, music and time, these bring us together more than politicians who want to play with peoples minds as if we don’t know that the VP in Zambia is just a ceremonial position especially when occupied by a person with no political roots.

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    • That is where you go wrong. What resource does Zambia get from western and southern provinces? Copperbelt and recently Northwestern, can claim to provide resources not western and southern.
      check your facts bwana.

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    • @ Martin, where does the electricity that drives the mines come from? Where does most of the maize meal , fish & meat you eat come from? Be real, and stop undertaking people

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    • Tribalism is perpetuated by people of the pre-independence generation. From my personal experience, as a north Westerner, my parents would have rather I married from among them, not what they termed to ‘the uncircumcised ‘.Fortunately, I did not! Right now, Solwezi produces copper, and yet the Chingola-Solwezi is neglected! Munchinga province, where the late Sata hailed from has a university! Both my parents and Sata are pre independent! The only provinces which are really one Zambia one nation, going by their voting patterns, are Lusaka and Copperbelt- heterogeneous societies! It’s time for the post-independence generation led by Copperplate and Lusaka, to rebel against this tribal /regional divisions from the previous independence generation! They’ll soon die and leave us…

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  5. The article By Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya John Kaoma “The small “margin” of the PF victory can suggest that HH will easily win the 2016 elections” Is done without analysing issues properly, its this type of thinking which has made HH to loose the election. The voting pattern especially in S/Province was shocking despite what PF has done in the province, Choma in particular, did the southerners reciprocate in terms of voting? In 2008 when L P Mwanawasa built a bridge at Chembe (Mwanawasa bridge) L/province despite being a stronghold of PF the people of Chembe voted for MMD-Mp & LP Mwanawasa as a way of appreciating his works/contribution. What about the people of Choma who were given new provincial capital plus Infrastructure devpt have they reciprocated? What about W/province 1.3 Trn…

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    • @Big Tribe: Im sure you have heard the saying, “Money cant buy me love”? There is your answer.

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    • I can see HH losing badly in 2016 if the voting pattern is any thing to go by. PF is still very strong and popular among the youth. The Western province and Eastern province votes will sink the UPND. Copperbelt ,Muchinga ,Luapula,Lusaka , Northern and part of Central province are fiormly in the hands of the PF. 2015 will be remembered as another year the UPND came close to entering state house.

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    • @big tribe….Your argument regarding what pf has been able to do is neither here nor there. The thing is that development in Zambia is overrated. In as much as we need good roads, hospitals etc, people won’t eat these or manage to send their school going children to universities. How many families have we managed to move from lower class to middle class? And how strong is that middle class which I believe is almost nonexistent? The development that is there is superficial and is heavily funded by external borrowing instead of our own resources. To date politicians prefer to use outside hospitals. Why don’t they go to our local hospitals when they seriously fall sick? It means they don’t believe in their own development.

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    • Spot-on my brother. All that PF gets in spite of the developments in southern and western is insults. Even if PF performance could beat their expectations, as long as the president is not Tonga, no approval would be given. These guys are not objective and unfortunately even Northwestern has taken a leaf from them.

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    • [email protected] Tribe, you miss the point–the author is arguing otherwise. It is sad that you missed the following sentence: “Nonetheless, unlike the 2015 elections, the 2016 tripartite elections will introduce new voters while Councilors, MPs, and the President will be campaigning for their jobs.”

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  6. What about North Western producing huge quantities of copper but without good roads and universities.

    But look at the areas where there is literally no production. You will find this and that road being tarred here and there, a university being build or promised here and there and nothing for North Western Province.

    Anyway you can go to hell with your ka presidency and leave us alone with our God given natural resources.

    On what basis? Tribe. The problem has been to blame one group of people as being tribe. The only problem is that Tongas come out openly where as Bembas have been disguising themselves as non tribalist yet their pattern of voting has also proved that they are tribalists.

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  7. @Habazonda
    We are trying to figure out how to fight this cancer of tribalism, but you response is just like adding salt to the wound.

    GBM wrote a very good article on tribalism and I thought this was the beginning of the healing process because he was able to identify part of root cause. But when I checked on his facebook page, he was rebuked and even insulted by his own tribes men.

    Just read the comments on face book pages of the Mwembantu, The Post, Zambian Watchdog, Zambian Reports and Tumfweko during the campaign and election period, it is very clear which tribal grouping hates the other.

    Didnt Scot call southerners a Minority tribe. Didnt Sata likened N/Westerners to Toilet Cleaners.

    When Mazoka stood against Chiluba, the term “Umu Tonga teti ateke Chalo” surfaced…

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  8. Im not Tonga but I think we have been very unfair to them. The Post newspaper under the guise of reporting objectively and the hate they have for HH has not helped much. Look at how they reported on Munkombwe just to destabilise UPND in the just ended election. The kind of reporting by this paper has helped to compound the problem between these most rival groups.

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  9. Article misleading, if it was bemba vs tonga as he claims why did bembas not vote for mumba mmd because he is more bemba than lungu. Yes there is a mistrust between bembas and tongas, tongas voted more on hh but i dont believe bembas did the same with mumba.

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    • Bembas voted for Sata’s party period! That is how Lungu was sold. “Ba Sata bali mu salile” No issues whatsoever. The Tongas also voted for HH, “it’s our turn”. Lets not point fingers tribalism was not put away by the slogan “One Zambia One Nation”, it was only covered up. Tribalism can only be removed through honest dialogue, fairness in sharing the national cake & truly listening to one another

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    • Because they sensed that the poor fellow was left ‘naked’ and could not win…..so EL was a better proxy to save a Bemba Party by wooing the Easterners! After all EL came just right as a Bemba wannabe, he campaigned throughout in Bemba, didn’t he?

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  10. I totally do not agree with the writer looking at what transpired in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Look, in Eastern Province UPND was able to win in Sinda and came close in Chadiza. In other areas, the UPND was given more votes as if hh were from there. In Northern Province, where PF was getting something like 13000 votes for example, UPND would get about 3000 votes. This trend was the same in Luapula and Muchinga Provinces. Now compare these figures to Southern, Western and North-Western, where UPND was getting 19000 votes PF would more probably get less than a 1000. If PF, in UPND strongholds was being voted as UPND was voted in the in the PF strongholds, Lungu could have choked a bigger winning margin. In this case who do you call a tribalist. If PF practices what UPND did, danger

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    • Politics is like marketing, if you market yourself well you win more customers. HH marketed himself well in Eastern, Norhern, Muchinga and Luapula provinces. He spend most of his time campaign there & he had a powerful campaign team in all those areas. Lungu neglected Western, Southern & N/W & he didn’t have any grass root structures there, that’s how he harvested less

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  11. Leave out the lozis there was no lozi candidate apart from Bo Mulyoekela who did not even manage to register. They voted according to the message. Other candidate even cancelled rallies in Kalabo , how do you vote someone you don’t even know?
    Kalabo road has never been PF initiative and it still has 30 years to completion. Only talk when you have facts not hiding behind the PC or that smart phone to blog rubbish.

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    • But do you also know that the PF gvt had paid alot more attention to Kalabo road than MMD. For your info MMD started working on that road way back but they kept failing. At one time, they did a poor job and part of the road was washed away. When PF came in power, they put the work on hold in order to find a lasting solutionon how best the road can be constructed and most you blamed them. Now the project has reached an advanced stage likely to be completed in the next 1 year and the work is proper. All because of the PF

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    • @Yabaa. The Kalabo road is a detractor to the ways of life and culture of the barotse people. The barotse plain is a national heritage and now it is destroyed. This road would’ve serviced a lot of communities had it been taken through kalongola on its way to kalabo instead of litunga’s palace.

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  12. There is only one tribe that is tribal- Bemba period. They have this Congolese behavior but every time accuse their friends.

    However, Lets all put behind this tribal thing. remember we have tonga/ bemba children, where do you take them? please, there are so many things we can talk about, stop this talk on tribalism. Lets move forward, Zambia is bigger than any tribe, what more Barotseland a nation on its own is quiet for now. STOP IT. WE ARE ALL ONE, AND ZAMBIANS FOR THAT MATTER.

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    • SNEPA, first you say there is only one tribe which is tribal- Bemba, then you continue appealing for end to tribal talk giving an example of Tonga/Bemba children.
      I can only say you are an hypocrite. You are the type promoting this evil by your type of talk through your hypocrisy.

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    • @ 10 SNEPA you seem to be ignorant of the fact that most tribes in Zambia including Nsenga, Chewa, Kaonde, Lamba to name a few emigrated from Congo. So bwana stop your daft statements.

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    • You’re contradicting yourself. Read your comment again and see for yourself if the 2 paragraphs agree.

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  13. Inonge Wina MAMA pliz divide us if you become a head of state after what is expected soon.

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  14. Well tribalism is the truth. But when you analyse the just ended elections and look at the voting figures, yes northern, luapula, Muchinga and eastern did vote for Lungu, but wait a minute, in almost all the consituencies, Hichilema was atleast getting a thousand votes and infact in the Eastern provices it was more because he even won two consituencies. Now lets take Southern and Northwestern province, surely if even you dont want people to talk about tribalism, the differences was too much. Lets be serious. Dont forget that, these other regions that gave UPND atleast some votes to balance a bit are now talking to say how can our friends do this in their province. There is real awakening in these areas and please expect a rude shock for UPND in 2016.

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    • In politics you reap were you sow. HH campaigned heavily in Northern, Eastern, Luapula and Muchinga. Lungu on the other hand did not campaign well in Southern, Western and N/W

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  15. Hey Folks,stop accusing Tongas of Tribalism.Lack of strategic thinking and planning is the result of heavy loss for PF in Southern Province. PF’s campaign strategy was poor in Southgern province ,for instance Edgar Lungu concentrated on PF strong hold and HH concentrated on Weaker side as well as giving equal coverage to 10 provinces of Zambia at a very limited time conditions.

    In my opinion HH is the winner whether his loss is genuine or not.HH and other opposition Leaders have never had successful interaction with the grassroot for the past 3 years of PF in power because of the POA.

    I tell you 2016 will be an interesting year with or without Southern Province,HH will carry the day. So many have just realised the importance of registering to vote and ultimately voting.

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    • Man your HH will lose for a fifth time in row. You always behave like this ..so pompous and boastful about your nothing HH. To tell you the truth come 2016, Zambians will vote in the spirit of Southerners . Zambians have been told another lesson. Just wait for 2016.

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  16. Let us face it–the 2015 elections shamefully exposed the ethnic divisions in our beloved nation—people voted based on tribal stereotypes. In fact, many Bembas denied HH their votes simply because he is Tonga. Similarly, the Tongas saw and come 2016 will see nobody on the ballot but their own–HH. So unless we change, Zambia’s future is very precarious.

    AUTHOR DID NOT RESEARCH – EASTERNERS & NOTHERNERS ACTUALLY GAVE HH DECENT VOTES – IN FACT HE SCOOPED 2 Constituencies IN EASTERN PROVINCE. HH MANY TIMES GOT 2000+ IN MOST PLACES IN NORTHERN & LUAPULA WHILE EDGAR MOSTLY GOT BELOW 200 VOTES IN THE WESTERN/SOUTHER PARTS. JUST ACCESS THE ECZ WEB SITE INSTEAD OF DREAMING

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  17. Tongas are very tribalistic and come 2016,UPND will be packed forever in the dust bin.They will have no votes from Northeastern Rhodesia copperbelt inclusive.

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  18. Imagine most of the DC’s in Southern province campaigned for UPND in the night.It was worse for the Choma one and Siavonga who are organizing the so called Rain bow party.What kind of thinking is this ? Lungu should do a due diligence on these guys and replace.They are a liability……its even better the positions are left vacant if there are no people than paying a salary to some one pretending to smile at you and yet planing evil.

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  19. There is no myth about tribalism. Tribalism has been promoted by politicians who have felt that their tribe has not produced a President since Zambia attained its political independence. Ordinary Zambians have been influenced by these politicians into believing that they are not presidents because so and so tribe is selfish. In Zambia what one needs is to market themselves and they will become president. Dr Levy P Mwanawasa enjoyed the incumbency of the then outgoing President FTJ Chiluba that is how he managed to become President. He is neither Bemba nor Easterner. The more people rely on tribe the further they will be from Plot 1. When campaigning, remember that a slip of tongue can cost you vital votes. Inciting people that the money produced in area X has gone to develop area Y are…

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  20. No 0ne is perfect. Everyone is paying from the effects of sin. Learn to forgive and try to do good to everyone regardless of our tribe and colour

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  21. what is wrong with you? Bembas gave HH more votes than what Tongas gave sata and lungu. why do we have to pray Tongas. imagine What Tongas wud say if they voted lungu the way Bembas did and lungu apoints inonge

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  22. If people where voting objectively HH would have won this election. He surely has a better vision for the nation. But as long as one grouping think they are better than others, this kind of voting will continue until it someday going to break into something more serious.

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  23. I dont like the title. Blame this one or blame that one is not the way to go. Analyze, yes, and attribute tribal patterns and behaviours to those who show such behaviour, yes, but blame does not help get to the root cause. Histpry is a process and everyone is caught in it. Sometimes even aggressors are victims.

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  24. President Lungu should ban all tribal talk in public so that we can all be Zambians only. This tribal talk is dangerous anyone propagating or mentioning tribe must be arrested period. Tribal talk should be left for your home and not in public.

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    • I totally agree with you, actually he should make it punishable the way racism talk is in some countries. We are all one and have a democratic right to vote whom we want. EL has to take serious measure to address this problem before it escalates into a negative vice, we all have only one Zambia, diversity is a spice of life and a christian country for that matter. How do you face God with all such hatred towards one another? The church also need to tackle this issue.

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    • bembas think zambia belongs to bembas , they have no regard for other tribes, tongas and other tribes who live in bembaland learn bemba and they are able to speak bemba but for bembas its never the case. Bembas should have themselfe to blem. They are really tribalistic.

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    • Iwe ka @frank shimushombo, can you explain how Bembas who lived and grew up in Tonga land speak better Tonga than most of the Tongas? Have you traveled and watched children grow in new areas? They easily assimilate the language and ways of the area!! Why do we utter rubbish even when we can see it!? Are you crazy!? Pumbavu.

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  25. Just sit in your tish you divisive tribal nitwits! how can people honestly vote purely based on hatred and spite for fellow people? mulanchima! mulekwatako amano! clearly amafi yangombe yalamikola! tulemichita forgive pantu twalishiba ati amano yapelela mufikola fyangombe!

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    • I am sure Jesus is weeping for you, his spelt blood on the cross was in vain. Love God and your neighbor, forgive and God will favor you. Take time to pray today so that you cleanse yourself of this bitterness.

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  26. It is obvious that this issue is being tackled from the surface in a symptomatic manner such that every jim and jack feels they are competent to comment on it. We need social/political scientists and historians to delve deep and get to the bottom of the worsening situation in terms of voting patterns and a report should be produced for government to work on this report’s recommendations. As it is now and typical of us, we have conveniently buried our heads in the sand by blaming southerners. Stop it! Do we know the message that is being sent by regional voting patterns? President Edgar, please appoint an independent body of qualified professionals to look into the above matter before we reach a point of no return.

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  27. In all this talk of tribalism in Zambia the losers are Tongas and Bembas, especially youths being taught hatred. These tribes are practically being pulled apart.
    My advise to commentators here, i will also do my part, with any level of influence let us heal this divide. For instance right from traditional leaders, schools and farming/industry we can encourage exchange programs to heal the divide between Tongas and Bembas.
    I am Tonga and do have Bemba friends from my secondary school days up to varsity, they are just wonderful people. Let us not allow this division to continue.

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  28. /This is very f00lish article. Bembas are not tribal. Why did they fail to vote for their own Mumba for the MMD.

    This is all F00lish articulation my dear.

    Just point to the tribal Tongas who can cause genocide once elected to state house as their brains are clogged with tribe and hatred for other tribes.

    We made a very big mistake in western province to vote for their tonga HH.

    Wait for 2016 Elections.

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  29. We have a bunch of scholar who they think they can just write what they feel and it must be believed. Why is so hard for people to do a research and find out the actual truth. It is a shame that we bring history to blame the current state of affairs. Edgar Lungu got the majority votes from the North yet he is not a from there and yet the Mumba born and bred in Chinsali lost terribly. That must tell something to the author. It is high time even stopped discussing and accusing each other of tribalism. Imagine if your parents are Bemba and Tonga, where does that leave you when all the discussions about tribalism between the two tribes.

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  30. While I do not entirely agree with the author of this article, there is one element that we all have to accept as a nation. Tribal/racial inclinations have been and are there in Zambia and the world over. Spain has the Catalan, Yugoslavia was split due to the same, DRC had the Katangese civil war, Nigeria had the Biafra war, Canada has the Quebec issue, UK has the Scottish issue etc.

    My only take is to move to a Parliamentary system where a President is elected by parliament. South Africa is one such an example. Secondary we also need to devolve power to the regions/provinces and the extreme of this could be a federal state. Federalism is more ideal for our case. Lessons can be learnt from the USA, UK, Belgium, Nigeria, etc.

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  31. Very narrow and lacks analysis. In the southern province did not express apathy the way bembas expressed theirs in the PF stronghold. If people in certain areas come out en masse to vote, it is not tribalism!

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  32. Are you people Christians or hypocrites? Why so much hatred? Take a deep reflection and see if Jesus is happy with your thoughts! Jesus left us 2 greatest commandments- to love God and our neighbors!!!!! Forgive 70X70 and then you shall find God’s favor. It is normal to feel angry and bitter but let it pass by asking God’s counsel in prayer, may the grace and peace of our Lord be with us all.

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    • They are Christians. They are not followers of Christ. Therein lies the tragedy. Matter of fact Jesus was a traditional Judaist – he came to fulfill what was in the scriptures, he did not come to create any Christianity! Kapiisch?

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  33. But who is the ultimate loser each time….See who goes into diplomatic missions, mediocres. The poor guy who braved the heavy rains to go[and cast his ] vote, is already forgotten, 20 people sharing a water tap, needless deaths in the health facilities. You would think this should be at the top of their to-do list??

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  34. Leave Tongas alone. As long as you continue talking about tribal remarks against tongas, I do not see them changing. Come 2016 the voting pattern may even be worse because they will not vote for anyone else apart from HH. These people do not care they are able to feed themselves. They are hurt after Nkumbula and Mazoka and now HH2015 losing, they are ready to live in opposition forever.

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  35. Africa is not moving toward democracy. Whenever there is an election in any African country always ends up in controversy. It’s just happened in Ghana and Kenya, we saw what happened in Ivory Coast, in Kenya where one tribe turn against another tribe because the President Candidates were promoted themselves to get vote according to their tribes.

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  36. ZAMBIA’S TRIBAL RANKING in terms of 2015 voting pattern
    1 Southern Province
    2 NorthWestern Province
    3 Luapula Province
    4 Northern Province
    5 Western Province
    6 Eastern/Copperbelt Province
    7 Lusaka Province
    8 Central Province

    This indicates why Bembas and Tongas are fighting because they are on the extreme ends. for every 14 people in Southern Province 13 voted HH and 1 EL where as in Central it was almost 1 to 1, and for every 9 in luapula 8 went for Lungu. In Eastern it was out of 4, 3 will go for Lungu

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    • Yes but this is Lungu’s fault. He didn’t market himself well in areas where PF is unpopular

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  37. The way forward for African democracy lies in concerted efforts to build modern political parties founded on development ideas and not tribal bonds.

    Such political parties must base their competition for power on development platforms.

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  38. Please be informed in 2016 UPND will be tomb-stoned .

    The foundation of the party is haunting them….the founder of UPND confessed that he was a mason.So whats the party’s foundation……Zambia is a Christian nation.

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  39. Leaders who focus on tribe are only responding to the mindset of the voters.
    Never underestimate the pull of the tribe/clan/family/gang. When people have very little, the group offers comfort by giving the feeling of belonging. Behaviour that is not of the group automatically excludes members. It is a very frightening thought for the individual. So better the tribe than nothing. This is true all over the world. Universal, free education would help dissolve the ties that bind and restrict advancement. But, no right thinking leader would advocate their own demise. Keeping the people in darkness is essential to maintaining power. The people need to have a clear,viable and safe alternative to the status quo otherwise change will simply not come.

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    • @Cirque du Pf. Stop plagiarizing. This commentary was featured on the BBC regarding the aftermath violence in the Kenyan elections.

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  40. Do not bring in these non entities into this discussion to avoid this tribal problem. Nevers Mumba just like Ludgwig Sondashi cannot be brought into this discussion to avoid discussing the current problem obtaining in our country. There is a serious tribal problem in this country full stop.

    Sondashi Ludgwig who hails from NorthWestern did not get votes from there instead the votes went to HH. So to say there is no tribalism in North Western because people there voted for HH instead of Lugwig Sondashi is not true so is Nevers Mumba.

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  41. May i repeat tribal remarks must be banned and anything propagating tribalism in public must be arrested for breach of public order. Government must consider this as it is a time bomb mark my words its better we a proactive than been reactive when it happens. Ban tribal talk now i repeat ban tribal talk now the Church where are you on this subject.

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    • Actually this should start with newspapers like the post and govt papers, they are the ones in the fore front

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  42. Mzee Hekima

    Can you sober up, we do not just work up and ban something. It is not as easy as you are saying. Kaunda suppressed it under one party state, and used to arrest people like you are suggesting, but has it died. The answer is a categorical no.

    It can only be banned through a civilised research and consensus. In research, find out why people are behaving the way they are behaving and address the problems according those findings not banning.
    Not even offering Inonge Wina Vice presidency will solve that problem. This is just a short term.

    What will happen when she is no long a vice President or she falls out of Lungu’s favour? We have had so many individuals appointed to high office from these provinces, but has it changed anything?

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  43. Kavuyi. I agree with you then let the research start we cant go on like this. Kaunda tried he failed we must try as well let the research start now.

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  44. This tribal issue is not a joke we need to find a solution now and we have an opportunity to do so. Everything around the world starts small and everyone thinks well it them until it affects you. Zambians we have an opportunity to do something.

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  45. Comeon folks! Tongas voted for a Bemba speaking president in 1991 and 1996 by as much as 100%,much more than theve done for HH in this election.
    They hoped for reciprocation in 2001 by the northernes for Mazoka and got nothing! Reason? “A Tonga should nit rule”.
    Didnt one of Lungu’s handlers say they didnt mind for votes in SP,WP & NW?

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  46. The …… are not tribal but the……are! Blame game every time. We need an arbitrator. Otherwise this division is real even if we are trying to trivialise the whole matter. Wait and see how deep this becomes.

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  47. There was too much apathy to create any meaningful article out of tribe. Let us first tackle why people do not vote or are disenfranchised? Genuine diaspora citizens of Zambia even flew in only to be told they could not vote. Even people incapacitated by logistics to vote where they had registered but relocated hundreds of kilometers away were equally disenfranchised. You cannot build a case on 38% turnout without addressing the root of the whole matter. It was not tribe – the whole frigging thing is flawed. Lazy heads like the author will easily relate to something excitable but meaningless on close inspection. Very few have the gall to enter into this sober introspection.

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  48. @Kalok, It seems you’re so lazy to read. What the author said is exactly what you are saying. Here is his argument:
    “Post-jubilee Zambia needs to make voting easy. Out of 5,166,084 registered voters, less than a third (1,671,662) voted. In Raised Hopes, Shattered Dreams, I argue that our electoral rules are anti-voter friendly, anti-student, and disqualify many people from casting their ballots. The country does not allow early or absentee voting, but requires people to vote in person and to go back to where they registered to cast their votes. Besides, why should we continue to waste money on voters’ cards—is the National Registration Card not enough?
    Madam Mambilima, time has come to make voting easy—every qualified citizen needs extra powers to access the ballot.”

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