The United Party for National Development (UPND) has issued a statement condemning the use of tribalism for political expediency in response to the redeployment of Anthony Bwalya from his position as presidential spokesperson to a role in foreign service.
UPND Chairman for Energy, Charles Kaisala, stated that it is “embarrassing if not shameful for Zambians, especially those who aspire to lead this country to use tribalism for political expediency.” He went on to say that, “Clearly, some opposition leaders are unapologetic and are shameless tribalists who are now lurching on the redeployment of Mr Anthony Bwalya from State House as presidential spokesperson to foreign service.”
Mr. Kaisala emphasized that Mr. Bwalya is a Zambian who deserves every opportunity as a Zambian to contribute to the country’s development in a position that the government feels is appropriate. He also accused the opposition of having difficulty finding substantive issues to decampaign President Hakainde Hichilema due to his focus on removing poverty in Zambia, “We know that the opposition are having challenges and painful sleepless nights to pick out issues of substance to decampaign President Hakainde Hichilema because of his focus on removing the shame of poverty Zambians have been subjected to in the last ten years.”
He went on to highlight President Hichilema’s efforts to improve the lives of Zambians, such as free education from Grade one to 12 and the increase in Constituency Development Funds from a meaningless 1.6 million kwacha to 28.3 million kwacha, “President Hichilema’s focus is to economically emancipate the general citizenry from abject poverty. And on this one, he is making massive strides. Who can argue against free education from Grade one to 12? Who can argue against the increase in Constituency Development Funds from a meaningless 1.6 million kwacha to 28.3 million kwacha? What about the payment of retirees within three months of leaving a job unlike the years on end they used to suffer in the PF?”
Mr. Kaisala also accused the opposition of trying to push a divisive tribal agenda in response to Mr. Bwalya’s redeployment and stated that the opposition’s schemes will not work, as Zambians are able to see through them. He urged the opposition to focus on providing checks and balances on issues that will improve the livelihoods of the people instead of promoting tribal conflict. He said “Politicians should not politicise Mr Bwalya’s redeployment as a political comeback because they will be embarrassed. First of all, according to his Facebook posting, Mr Bwalya is happy that he is going to serve the country in another capacity. Can the doomsayers tell us when Mr Bwalya complained about this redeployment.”
The statement also highlighted the redeployment of other public officials, such as Leslie Mbula and Emmanuel Mwamba, in the past without any talk of tribalism, “The respected Leslie Mbula was Secretary to Cabinet in charge of all civil servants but was redeployed to South Africa as High Commissioner reporting to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but there was no talk. Emmanuel Mwamba was permanent secretary but was appointed high commissioner to South Africa which people are saying is a lower position but there was no talk.”
Mr. Kaisala urged politicians to sober up and work towards overcoming the challenges facing the country rather than promoting divisive tribalism, “Let’s sober up. Our country has a lot of challenges which needs overcoming. It is a shame that some political greenhorn wants to ride the tribal card.