Thursday, June 20, 2024

Arrest all those promoting tribal and civil strife regardless of political affiliation – Part Two.


By Leemans L. Nyirenda

While there are a number of causes of World War One which Historians have listed, the four are the most cited as the main causes of World War one

  1. Defence Alliances
  2. Imperialism
  3. Militarism
  4. Nationalism

It can however be argued that two of these causes were the main catalyst to the outbreak of the war. While imperialism and militarism were also big factors in causing the War, Defense Alliances and Nationalism seem to have been the immediate causes.

Defense Alliances

Most of the wars that were fought in Europe prior to World War 1 had their genesis from the
expansionist policies of three empires that existed at the time. These were: the Russian, the
Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian Empires. These were the main empires that existed for
centuries and had fought several wars, conquering peoples to realise their expansionist policies.
To strengthen their positions and get the advantages of large fighting armies, these countries
began to form alliances. These alliances were meant to defend alliance members that came into
attack by enemy country or countries.

However, the beginning of World War 1 was centered around two alliances. The Tripple Alliance
comprising Germany, Austria/Hungary and their allies and the Tripple Entente composed of
Great Britain, France and Russia. By 1914, Germany had the greatest increase in military
buildup while Great Britain on the opposite side had also greatly increased its navy at that time
and hence militarism also played a big factor in causing the war.


Much of the origin of the resentment to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was based on the desire of
the Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina to no longer be part of Austria/Hungary empire
but instead be part of Serbia. At this time Serbia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and
the Black Hand which was one of the Serbian nationalist groups that wanted to free Serbia from
the Empire believed that the Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire threatened Serbian
independence. The group was also opposed to the Archduke’s planned reforms and hence
nationalism was at play for the murder at Sarajevo.

The murder at Sarajevo: On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip a Serbian nationalist belonging to
the Black Hand assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo. As a
result, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia came to the rescue of Serbia and joined
the war. Germany seeing Russia mobilizing, declared war on Russia. France was then drawn in
against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Seeing France joining the war, Germany attacked France
through Belgium thus pulling Britain a member of the Tripple Entente into the war. Then Japan
entered the war on the side of Tripple Entente and so did Italy. Later, the United States would
enter the war on the same side. The world war was in motion.

Getting back home to Zambia, substitute nationalism with tribalism, you are likely to get the
same result if those agitating tribal divisions are not stopped and caged. It doesn’t matter
which tribe, province or region these agitators come from. They must be stopped and caged
and sent to prison because the consequences are too ghastly to contemplate. Can you imagine
just for a second, after Munir Zulu called for the separation of provinces and restriction of
Easterners to Eastern Province, Tongas to Southern Province, Bembas, Namwangas,
Mambwes, and those from Luapula to the Northern Provinces. Then as a result, Bembas
chase all Tongas from the Northern Provinces. The result would be that all Bembas or Bemba
speaking people from Northern Provinces would also be asked to leave Southern Province in
retaliation failure to which they would face consequences. The Lambas would demand that
all people who do not hail from Copperbelt Province leave the province. The Lenjes would
demand that the Ngonis, Tongas, Bembas, Lozis leave Central Province. Chief Mukamambo
of the Soli people would also want Lusaka to be deserted by those who are not solis coming
from other provinces and this would include the president being ordered to leave Lusaka.
Imagine if these tribalists in Northern Province killed a Kaonde because he has not gone back
to Solwezi after Munir’s pronouncement and then in retaliation five Bembas are murdered in
Solwezi also in retaliation for the murder of their kin in Northern Province thus creating a
chain reaction. A civil war would easily break out based on retaliation by one province
against another or region against another. That was how the world war began.

Austria/Hungary declared war on Serbia in retaliation for the murder of their Archduke.
Other countries were drawn into the war on account of defending one of their members after
getting attacked and hence Russia immediately came to the rescue of Serbia. We surely can’t
imagine such a scenario happening in Zambia. The only state organ that can prevent Zambia
sliding into anarchy is the Zambia Police Service. Arrest anyone advocating and/or
promoting tribal hatred regardless of political affiliation (Empasis mine).
The 2007 Post-Electoral Violence in Kenya
Details of the Post Kenyan Electoral violence have been well documented and articulated by
the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) which issued a report
after a three-week fact-finding mission focusing on the violence that engulfed Kenya in the
wake of the disputed Presidential election on 27 December 2007. The 20-page report by a
OHCHR fact-finding team that visited Kenya from 6 to 28 February 2008 concluded that,
while irregularities in the election process were the primary trigger of the violence, there
were a number of underlying causes which included discrimination, poverty etc.
The team visited 15 of the worst affected locations, and interviewed 188 victims and
witnesses of post-electoral violence, as well as members of the Government and opposition
parties, law enforcement agencies, members of civil society, NGOs, UN agencies, diplomats
etc. The report identified three “distinct but sometimes concurrent patterns of violence –
spontaneous, organised and retaliatory.” The first one which was spontaneous began

immediately after the announcement of the contested election results, when opposition
supporters took to the streets in protest believing that their presidential candidate Raila
Odinga had been robbed of victory following days of delays in announcing the results. Those
demonstrations took place especially in Kisumu and the Nairobi slum areas; The attacks included a wave of organised attacks in the Rift Valley which appeared to have been targeted at non-Kalenjin communities and those perceived as opponents of the opposition ODM party, including the Kikuyu, Kisii and Luyha communities. In retaliation, organized gangs of Kikuyu youths attacked non-Kikuyus in Naivasha, Nakuru and Mathare. In all, more than 1,200 Kenyans were reported killed, thousands more injured, over 300,000 people displaced and around 42,000 houses and many businesses were looted or destroyed and women raped.

Noting that under international law, states bear the primary responsibility for protecting the
rights of all individuals within their territory, the OHCHR report indicates that in most
districts, the police were unable to maintain and enforce law and order. According to most of
the victims and witnesses interviewed, the police were often present but were either overwhelmed or just looked on when those groups came to attack their opponents.

According to the report, impunity was deeply entrenched in Kenya and was not confined to the police alone. The report concluded that consistent failure to act on the findings and recommendations of various state-commissioned inquiries and studies distanced the citizens
from state institutions. Most of those interviewed identified the failure to prosecute perpetrators (including planners and organisers) of past violence and human rights
violations as a major contributing factor to the violence.

When compared to Zambia, because of the drought and the debt burden that was left by
Edgar Lungu and his administration, people including the youths are in poverty and feel
marginalized thus creating disillusionment. There is a lot of disenchantment in Zambia today
due economic hardships caused by the previous government. Truth be told. However,
because of this scenario which we find ourselves in, we should not allow ourselves to be
divided or to divide the country. If certain people or groups of people are not satisfied with
the UPND government performance, they should wait for 2026 elections rather than engage
in criminality. Our democratic electoral system is foolproof on the five-year mandate before
one can think of unseating the government through the ballot. Any other illegal option should
surely attract the visitation of law enforcement officers and consequently lead to prosecution
and imprisonment upon conviction.


  1. It takes a spark like what happened in Rwanda upon the downing of the presidential plane
    to start an all-out slaughter of brother against brother, sister against sister etc. As a
    continent we lost over one million brothers and sisters. People should visit the Rwandan
  2. It takes tribalism by one influential person in the country to pit one tribe against another
    tribe like what happened in Zimbabwe in which we lost over 20 000 human lives and
    hundreds of thousands of people displaced after Robert Mugabe allegedly unleashed the
    fifth brigade on the Ndebele in matebeleland and the Midlands.
  3. It took two bullets to assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary
    which ignited the World War one that consumed over sixteen million human breathing
    beings and left millions displaced
  4. It took the belief in white race supremacy for over an estimated 20 million Africans to be
    taken to the Americas and other places as slaves.
  5. It took a disputed election result for our brothers in Kenya to start butchering each other
    like chickens in which an estimated 1200 people were slaughtered in cold blood.

    Therefore, no tribe or region should be seen to prevail over another. That time is for the past.Dr. Kaunda resigned for one day and Zambia had no president for one day because of tribal divisions. Let us avoid tribalism and fight it to the core. Police should not look at the tribe,region or status in society of a tribalist. Police can make the UPND government win or lose elections depending on how the service performs. The IG of Police should purge the police of coward, corrupt or politically inclined officers to serve Zambia better. Time is now.

The author is a Human Rights Advocate, Author, Researcher, Youth Development Partner
and Corporate and Management Consultant. He holds a Master of Business Administration,
Bachelor of Laws and Diploma in Human Resource Management.



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