Ethnicity (also derogatively called tribalism) and regionalism will destroy our homeland if the developments of the past two decades are left unchecked.
Zambia is today more fragmented than ever before. National unity is now ridiculed by the country’s petty bourgeois political elite and deliberately undermined in the political calculations to win votes. Unfortunately, this dangerous irrationality has almost taken over the entire political space – driving out the spirit of “One Zambia, One Nation”. The eventual consequences are not hard to predict: More mistrust amongst Zambians, hate language and speeches, regrouping into ethnic comfort zones, less tolerance to our diversity, and even more physical violence against each other.
It is going to be a more divided, ugly Zambian society than we already have.
The regional pattern of voting in the 11 August 2016 elections is a mere tip of the iceberg. The odds against national unity are much bigger, well nourished, and will continue to grow. At the core of the problem is a political and economic system built over the past 25 years based on greed, patronage, corruption, mediocrity and short-term political interests. It is a system creating a few very rich individuals and pushing the masses into abject poverty. A system that enables corrupt foreign investors reap millions of dollars from nothing; yet makes it difficult for the genuine ones to even get started.
It is the worst form of capitalism. And it keeps on reproducing itself with every electoral cycle.
The masses of our poor people in North-Western, Western and Southern provinces think their marginalization is due to not having a “President” originating from their areas and that all developmental efforts are going to the other provinces.
Their equally, if not worse off, poor brothers and sisters in Northern, Luapula, Muchinga and Eastern also think some regionally aligned leadership may one day turn the tide of development in their favour.
Under such a scenario, a Tonga head of state would not be according to their desires. There is therefore an apparent blind and misconstrued competition for “state house” which is not beneficial to any of the marginalized areas and populations of our country. Of course, their poverty has nothing to do with “tribe” or region. It has more to do with the capitalist nature of the Zambian economy.
The masses are used, or better still bought, to give a vote and legitimize the looting of the state by the petty bourgeois class. Development that would improve the livelihoods of the masses is not the preoccupation of this ruling class – if ever there is any semblance of development, it would be a farce or incidental. The preoccupation of the ruling elite is self-enrichment. It is a dysfunctional class, incapable of developing an
There is therefore urgent need to overcome ethnicity and regionalism based politics.
The poor masses of our country have to know that they constitute a downtrodden, abused and exploited class. That is their common bond throughout Zambia. Their exploiters would not want them to be united. Ethnicity and regionalism is a card they are using to keep the masses fragmented. It is also a way of diverting attentions from the corruption, greed and conspicuous consumption of the petty bourgeois leadership.
It has no interest of building a united Zambia, a society in which ethnicity and regionalism stop being the determining features of political life. However, for the Zambian masses class-based unity is the only hope for their emancipation.
It is “One Zambia, One Nation” that will ultimately deliver development for and with the masses.
Capitalism and its Petty bourgeois leadership is the enemy of the masses. It is dangerously taking our country into anarchy and chaos.