Daily Nation Newspaper - - HOME NEWS -

AT a time when cer­tain sec­tions of the po­lit­i­cal di­vide ap­pears hell bent on caus­ing de­spon­dency and may­hem in the coun­try, we hope politi­cians would stop and re­flect on the ad­vice from a Catholic Bishop – that politi­cians must not di­vide the peo­ple. He is right. Catholic Bishop of Mpika Dio­cese Jus­tine Mu­lenga’s wise coun­sel should not fall on deaf ears. Zam­bians must agree as a peo­ple that they will not al­low them­selves to be di­vided on tribal lines by power-hun­gry in­di­vid­u­als. What­ever their po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences, Zam­bians must ac­cept that they are one peo­ple, and re­ject any­one who tries to di­vide and cause them to rise against one an­other. Bishop Mu­lenga said in Isoka that politi­cians should stop di­vid­ing peo­ple based on tribe and po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion. He stressed that they should al­ways re­mem­ber that the peo­ple they were di­vid­ing were Zam­bians be­fore they be­longed to var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Of late, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the re­cent stu­dents’ un­rest at the Uni­ver­sity of Zam­bia Great East Road cam­pus in Lusaka, the na­tion has seen how some politi­cians tried to hi­jack the tragic in­ci­dent for selfish gain. The death of the fourth-year stu­dent, Ves­pers Shimuzhila was a tragedy for the fam­ily and the na­tion as a whole. Her fu­neral was sup­posed to be a uni­fy­ing event, but that was not to be. In­stead, the United Party for Na­tional De­vel­op­ment (UPND) lead­er­ship for ex­am­ple be­haved like they were the chief mourn­ers and cre­ated an im­pres­sion that other mourn­ers were not wel­come. Hence, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Min­is­ter Dora Siliya was sub­jected to in­sults at the fu­neral ser­vice. The UPND lead­er­ship watched qui­etly. None of the UPND lead­er­ship, not even their pres­i­dent, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, has con­demned the unZam­bian be­hav­iour and hate speech ex­hib­ited at Ves­per’s fu­neral. It is a fact that the un­rest at UNZA had a for­eign hand as we re­ported. No one has dis­puted our story about a light truck that de­liv­ered used tyres at the cam­pus. Those tyres were burnt on the Great East Road by some of the stu­dents who also stoned in­no­cent mo­torists. At the fu­neral it­self, the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion spot­ted black T-shirts whose ori­gin has not been es­tab­lished. They could only have been read­ily avail­able if some­one had or­gan­ised for their de­liv­ery. Zam­bia’s great­est as­set has been the unity of her peo­ple de­spite their tribal and po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions. As Bishop Mu­lenga noted, Zam­bia was known for her peace and unity through the prin­ci­ple of “love your neigh­bour as you love your­self,” which the fore­fa­thers cham­pi­oned. It is this unity that Zam­bians must con­tinue to em­brace and write off politi­cians who do not share their val­ues and con­fine them to the garbage heap. Yes, there are prob­lems fac­ing the na­tion but these can only be faced as a united force. You can­not boost agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion or tackle the econ­omy amidst chaos. The on­go­ing Cen­tral Prov­ince In­vest­ment Fo­rum and Expo for ex­am­ple is an ex­am­ple of how a coun­try at peace ought to tackle its chal­lenges – come to a round­table “ind­aba” and ex­change ideas. As Bishop Mu­lenga noted and we agree, “the start­ing point should be that we are Zam­bians and we are chil­dren of God who should love one an­other.” We should not al­low my­opic politi­cians to mis­lead the na­tion.

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