Senior government officials hailing from the Zambezi Region met in the region last week to discuss ways to eliminate tribalism from the region, but Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu is worried that tribalism is so intense it has crippled development in the region. During a media briefing meant to discourage the residents of the region from being tribalists, Sampofu said the situation is so rife that even traditional chiefs and some prominent people practice it. “It [tribalism] is rife in the region. We need to move away from tribalism and focus on development in the region. We need peace and stability but if tribalism persists it will not be possible,” said Sampofu in an interview with The Patriot newspaper. A disappointed Sampofu further noted: “Tribalism is dragging us back as a region because there are very few of our people that are not tribalists.”
Sampofu was speaking at a press briefing last Friday attended by Minister of Justice, Dr Albert Kawana; the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka; Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Stanley Simataa; the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa; heads of various ministries in the region and traditional leaders. According to Sampofu, even traditional chiefs are promoting tribalism instead of fighting it. “Instead of talking to their subordinates to desist from being tribalists, some chiefs are also promoting the evil. Maybe we must involve the police to address this issue,” he said. Sampofu also expressed concern over the impact tribalism has on tourist activities in the region. “We are trying by all means to attract investors because there is great potential for tourism in this region but we are not united. If we can hold hands we can grow this region,” said the governor.
New Era newspaper this week quoted Sampofu as saying he has been advocating for the fight against tribalism, however, his efforts have been in vain, as tribalism appears to have reached boiling point in the region. “This has been my song – I even established the Chiefs’ Forum with the sole purpose of fighting tribalism. However, this year we will not have the Chiefs’ Forum meeting because not all of them always turn up.” Sampofu also regretted that the youth from the region have resorted to using social media to promote the evils of tribalism, while others use social media to spread secessionist propaganda. “It is regrettable that some individuals have resorted to use social media to advance the agenda of tribalism and even secession. Fighting each other through these social platforms will never take us anywhere. Working together in unity of purpose will bring peace, safety, security, harmony and economic development,” he said.