Before you claim we are committing the crime of proposing tribal war or that we are peddling tribalism, help us understand. Why on earth would the Zambian government advertise a government job to be based in Mongu, Barotseland, and put the ability to speak siBemba fluently as one of the qualifications in a region where the predominant lingua franca is siLozi?
This was the case on January 6th, 2020 when the Ministry of National Development Planning ran a two-page advertisement in the Daily Mail, a nationally circulated government publication, calling for applications to fill vacancies in the project implementation unit for the strengthening of climate resilience in the Barotse sub-basin (SCReBS) project to be based in Mongu!
The advertisement was on Pages 16 and 17 of the Monday Edition of the Zambia Daily Mail, 6th January 2020.
Any sensible and objective government would indeed encourage that the successful candidate is relatable to the people of the primary area of operation, and would require the officer to be fluent in the lingua franca of the territory, siLozi in this case, but not the hegemonic Zambian government, who instead, made speaking Bemba fluently as the added advantage to prospective applicants.
What is sad is that the implementation of this project in the Barotse Sub-basin is a donor-funded project, and one wonders why the Zambian government would discriminate it in such a manner.
Does the World Bank, who are the financiers of this project, even know that their money is now used by this Patriotic Front regime to promote the Bemba tribalism at the expense of the primary beneficiaries, the Barotse people of Barotseland?
The question is why would the Zambian government do that?
The Zambian government, particularly under the leadership of the Patriotic Front (PF) has been accused of pursuing a Bemba hegemonic agenda in which many non-Bemba speaking civil servants, especially those suspected to originate from the Barotse region and or its associated tribal groupings of Southern and North-Western provinces, have allegedly been fired or retired in national interest.
This policy has ensured that only Bembas and their associated tribes of the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Zambia have remained to occupy all or most of the important government jobs, and the only justification so far given by the government is that the people of the Southern, Western and North-Western provinces did not vote for the current party in power.
This is a stupid explanation because while the government carries on with this Bemba hegemony, all tribes and regions are made to contribute to the national treasury equally through taxes!
Even a casual look at the high government positions at permanent secretary level to cabinet positions will show that around 95 % of all positions are allocated to people from Northern and Eastern Provinces while a paltry 5% are from the rest of the provinces of the Southern half of the country.
The advertisement in question is a classic example!
Apparently, in Zambia, academic qualification and experience are no longer enough as one would also have to be associated with the dominant tribe, the Bemba tribe to get or keep a government job!
What nerve in a country that claims to be Christian and pursuing the so-called one Zambia, one nation policy!
We do not buy it for a second that the Bemba speaking qualification in this advert is a mistake because then, it would have been corrected by now!
This Bemba qualification is very deliberate as the current situation on the ground in Barotseland would prove that all government positions, ranging from state security agencies such as police, hospital and school jobs, especially at management level, are all filled by Bemba and Nyanja speaking people. Even local government jobs in the various councils across Barotseland are all occupied by Bemba speaking people.
We are aware that whenever the Zambian government undertakes recruitments in the Barotse territory, the vacancies end up being filled by Bemba people at the expense of the local Barotse people. However, recruitments in Northern provinces are never left to the Barotse people or speakers from the southern provinces of the country!
Zambia is pursuing a colonization policy over Barotseland, and like every colonialist, they wish to destroy the language of the colony as they impose their language and culture!
However, this Bemba hegemony is hurting Zambia by dividing it along regional lines and starves the nation of suitably qualified human resources who are excluded in the running of the country simply because they do not subscribe to the Bemba ethnicity.
This may backfire to haunt the nation.