Here Are the Facts Just the Facts And Nothing But The Facts!
By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
We refer the recent News Diggers editorial under the sensational caption “Why do we tolerate Bemba-Sponsored tribalism in Zambia”.
As for The Editorial of 28th May 2019, careless and reckless doesn’t even begin to describe the editorial referred to in this response. I do not want to believe that it was written out of a misplaced altruistic sense of obligation to “balance” the tribal legacy of a certain opposition political party frequently associated with tribalism.
Nevertheless, how does the ranting of some possibly misguided irrational cadre warrant such an alarming headline and judgmental article , written with the express intention of tainting a combined ethnic grouping of millions people? Making such sweeping statements, jumping to conclusions and the practise of such logical fallacies is not best journalism practise and certainly not expected of such an experienced and otherwise respected media house.
Having said that, I wish to reaffirm that tribalism has no place anywhere in the 10 Provinces of Zambia. It can be a highly emotive and volatile subject, and we all have a responsibility to confront it without escalating it by speaking the truth with love. Truth and fact are on the same side.
Fact dispels fallacy. The following empirical data covering Presidential elections since 2001 from “Bemba Provinces” and the main opposition “stronghold” dispel the assertion of any “Bemba-Sponsored tribalism” in PF or outside PF. On the other hand, a pattern of tribal sponsorship being practiced by a certain opposition political party is irrefutably established.
2001 Luapula Province
The UPND was established in 1998 and the 2001 elections the party contested and its maiden candidate was founder the late Anderson Kambela Mazoka whose roots were in Monze, Southern Province. 2001 also saw the late Benjamin Yoram Mwila a.k.a “B.Y” a business mogul and indigene of Luapula who had businesses spread across the Copperbelt and Lusaka. It was also former late Michael Chilufya Sata’s debut Presidential contest.
President Levy Mwanawasa, another newcomer who took over the MMD mantle from President Fredrick Chiluba won the overall election in Luapula beating Bembas in their own territory. The following were the results in Luapula Province Levy Mwanawasa 71,509 and 53.3%7 of the vote, BY Mwila was second with 20,998 representing 15.67% and Mazoka of UPND came 5th with 5,674 (4.23%) edging Bemba speaking Michael Chilufya Sata into sixth place with 4,832 votes (3.61%).
In certain constituencies like Chembe apart, from giving Mazoka first place, the people of Luapula gave Mazoka more votes 767 (16.64%) than they did to all their fellow Bemba tribesmates combined; BY Mwila 247 (5.36%) Nevers Mumba 257 (5.58%) Michael Sata 29 (0.63%), Konie 21 (0.46%). In fact in Chembe Constituency non-Bembas i.e., Mwanawasa, Mazoka and Miyanda in that order took the top three positions in the Presidential poll with 2,137 (46.37%) 767 (16.64%) and 545 (11.82%). Where was Bemba Sponsorship?
Overall the people of Luapula that year also gave more votes to Mazoka than the following “Bemba Speakers” Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba then of NCC 3,020 (2.25%) and the late Dr Gwendoline C. Konie of SDP 666(0.50%). Where was “Bemba Sponsorship”?
2001 Northern Province
Non-Bemba Mwanawasa was the run-away winner with 82,867 (42.01%) another non-Bemba speaker the late General Christone Tembo with 24,823 (12.58%). Although UPND’s Mazoka with 8,888 votes (4.51%)was behind the late B.Y Mwila 18,424 (9.34%) and the late Michael Chilufya Sata 15,781 (8.00%) the Southern Province “outsider” was better received by the people of Northern Province than they received their own tribesman Dr Nevers Mumba 4,423(2.24%) and kinswoman the late Mama Gwendoline Konie 1,351 (0.68%). Curiously, Mwanawasa the non-Bemba topped all constituencies and Mazoka from Southern Province even topped all the six Bemba Candidates in some Northern Province Constituencies like Chilubi. How “tolerant” were the Bemba voters? Where was the Bemba Sponsorship?
2001 Southern Province
Overall, Mazoka with 172,253 votes (70.93%) had a clean sweep of the Province. Mwanawasa of the then ruling MMD was a distant second with 36,068 (14.85%), B.Y Mwila in 6th place with2,784 (1.15%) scored the highest among the Bemba Candidates. Nevers Mumba received 2,227 (0.92%) while the late Dr Konie received 1,375 (0.57%). The late founder of the Patriotic Front and eventual 5th Head of State Michael Chilufya Sata was given 790 votes (0.33%) out of 242,848 votes cast and he emerged 11th out of a field of the same number. Was the favour returned in terms of the “tolerance” for “outsiders” levels in Luapula and Northern Province?
2006 in General
The UPND founder Mazoka unfortunately passed away in 2006, and Mr Hakainde Hichilema took over the reins in controversial circumstances blighted by tribal rhetoric. UPND at the time was a member of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) which was an alliance of 3 parties that sought to field one candidate to wrest power from MMD at the 2006 polls. Mr Hichilema, the inexperienced green horn contentiously put himself ahead of the more experienced FDD leader Edith Nawakwi (again…where was the Bemba sponsorship) and UNIP’s Tilyenji Kaunda who was the Chairman of the UDA Alliance and President of UNIP, Zambia’s oldest party. He stood on the UDA ticket.
In Northern Province, more than 50% constituencies gave Mwanawasa the top vote. In some constituencies Hichilema – another non Bemba( Southerner)even came second to Mwanawasa after he received more votes in Isoka East 1,515 (11.25%) and Isoka West (1,758) 13.90% than the PF Patriarch Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata 1101 (8.17%) and 1,570 (12.41%) whose Chitulika village in Mpika was just a little over a three and a half hour drive from there (263.1 km), compared to Mr Hichilema’s village in Monze which is at least a 15 hour drive(1,095.9 km).
Meanwhile, in Monze Central, Hichilema swept 19,785 (83.10%) of the vote while the late PF founder only received a paltry 557 (2.34 %) Who was not tolerating who?
2008 In General
The 2008 generally took the same trend as 2006.
Hichilema/UPND got an overall vote tally of 506,763. Of these votes 266,754 came from one region representing 53%; who is sponsoring what?
The People of Zambia ushered President Michael Chilufya Sata and the Patriotic Front into office with 1,170,966 votes spread across the country.
2015 Luapula Province
In the 2015 Elections, UPND came second to PF in Luapula Province; Hakainde Hichilema got more votes in Luapula Province than the combined vote tally of Dan Pule, Nevers Mumba, Edith Nawakwi, Eric Chanda, Elias Chipimo and Peter Sinkamba. These candidates from Provinces that have Bemba speakers collectively received 4,495 votes; which was less than even 50% of the 10,493 votes Mr Hakainde Hichilema of UPND amassed. Where does “Bemba Sponsorship” come in? If there was “Bemba Sponsorship” would Mr. Hichilema have received the votes he did? In fact in Reverend Dan Pule’s home town of Samfya he mustered 262 votes against Hakainde Hichilema’s 2058. Where is the “Bemba Sponsorship”? Who is “tolerating” who?
Meanwhile in Hichilema’s home town of Monze, Reverend Pule received a paltry 11 votes against Mr. Hakainde’s 42,182. Who is “sponsoring who” and who is indeed “tolerating” who?
Muchinga was no different. Chinsali in the heart of Bemba is the home of many a Bemba luminary including renowned freedom fighter, the first Vice President of the Republic of Zambia from 1967 to 1970, one of our nation’s distinguished patriarchs and eminent Bemba tribesman the late Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe. To put things in perspective, the combined total of the Bemba candidates; Elias Chipimo Jr. (100) Eric Chanda (44) Daniel Pule (41) Edith Nawakwi (18) and Peter Sinkamba (4) was barely half of what Hakainde Hichilema received in the same area! If there was “Bemba Sponsorship” or tribalism would this have been possible? Who is tolerating who?
Southern Province 2015
In the meantime in Monze district the UPND leader’s hometown, he received 42,182 votes, while the man from Chinsali Dr Nevers Mumba received 92 votes! The total votes cast for all the 6 Bemba speaking candidates i.e. Chipimo,Chanda,Pule, Nawakwi and Sinkamba in Monze District was 407! The combined vote of 6 Bemba candidates was less than 1% of Mr Hichilema’s Vote! The overall Provincial tally followed a similar pattern. Who is not tolerating who?
As for 2015 results by the selected Provinces.
Mr Hichilema got 272,182 out of 299,546 which was 91% of the vote. The Bembas received insignificant votes which would need a viewing aid such as a microscope or magnifying glass to view on a pie chart such as the one above.
Bembas in Luapula were well off the pace even falling significantly behind Mr Hakainde Hichilema of UPND
Bembas in Northern Province did not vote for fellow Bembas
Newly created predominantly Bemba-Speaking Muchinga Province did NOT vote Bemba
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and PF won with 205,770 votes (81.9 %). As for Bemba candidates the voting trend continued. 4 Bemba candidates only managed a combined total of 5,932 votes out of a total number of 251,224 votes representing a measly 2.4% of votes in Luapula while on the other hand Hichilema of UPND scored 35,929 which was 14.3% of the total tally.
2016 Southern Province
Out of 575,354votes cast, 4 Bemba candidates (Chishimba, Nawakwi, Sinkamba and Mumba) only received a combined 2,464 votes which is less than even half of one percent (0.4%) of the total votes cast. Hakainde Hichilema an indigene of Southern Province got 527,893 votes (92%) while PF candidate President Edgar Lungu in second place in the province garnered 42,909 votes (7%).
Hichilema’s vote in Southern Province accounted for 30% of his national vote of 1,760,347
The preceding information no doubt illustrates that there is no “Bemba-Sponsorship” of tribalism. However, there is cause for concern for high intolerance levels of other tribes in a certain opposition party’s strongholds. Perhaps News Diggers could follow it up?