Movement for Democratic Change president Felix Mutati says the country is at a crossroads where it is divided on tribal lines. He’s right.

“As we consulted on issues to do with the conditions of living, we also were told that the current political climate, the way we are carrying on, we are a country divided. We are divided along tribal lines; we are divided again along regional lines. And, indeed, it’s not that I know you, but I know that if you come, you are a Bemba and I’m a Lozi I must hate you,” says Mutati.

This is not a mere sentiment; it is the truth, the reality in our country. It was also the finding of the commission of inquiry appointed by Edgar Lungu into the issue of regional voting and election violence following the 2016 elections.

And one doesn’t need a microscope to see it; it is something that can be easily seen with the naked eye.

For instance, how can one explain the fact that Michael Sata since he started contesting elections in 2001 Sata and the Patriotic Front never won any election in Eastern Province? But immediately he was replaced by Edgar the Patriotic Front started winning all elections in Eastern Province. Is it the Patriotic Front or Edgar who hails from Eastern Province they were voting for?

Has anything changed since the 2016 elections? If nothing much has changed, we should brace ourselves for a continuation or even deepening of regional or tribal voting. And what will the result look like if each tribe or group of tribes voted only for their tribesmen or women? Which region is likely to win such a contest?



  1. This analysis does not address what causes continued or deepening of regional or tribal voting, and therefore the statements donot help in finding durable solutions. People tend to make decisions based on the information they have. When the ruling party continues to limit freedom of assembly and movement, people in various regions or tribes will not know what a political candidate from another region or tribe has to offer. The default option is to support one from their region or tribe. What is needed is more and deep freedom of assembly and freedom of movement of people between regions and tribes. The emerging approach of “ no go areas politics” and discriminatory application of the POA will just deepen regional and tribal voting.


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