from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE arrest of a controversial opposition politician is a major step towards stemming the tide of hate speech in Zambia.
Officers of the Zambia Police Service (ZPS) on Sunday arrested leader of the Economic and Equity Party (EEP), Chilufya Tayali, on allegations of fanning ethnic divisions.
This through his rants on social media.
The politician (aged 48) has been apprehended in the capital Lusaka on charges of breaching the Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Act.
“This is in connection with the recent remarks he allegedly made and posted on various social media platforms where he mentioned some traditional chiefs and some Commanders from the Defence and Security wings,” said Godfrey Chilabi, ZPS Assistant Public Relations Officer.
Chilabi mentioned that the alleged offence was committed between January 1 and 29.
Tayali has in recent days been making sweeping tribal statements.
In some posts, he accuses the Bemba people of selling their votes.
He accuses some Bembas of being “useful idiots.”
The politician also accuses President Haikande Hichilema of leading a “highly tribal” government that has “a few” Easterners and Northerners “just being used” to show a national character.
He accused those politicians from the north as being sellouts.
United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hichilema has been in power since 2021, taking over from the Patriotic Front (PF) after an election characterized by hate speech and violence.
The EEP describes itself as party which “believes in the dignity of a human person and equality of all human beings including those considered marginalized.”
Tayali is a divisive figure. Last October, he was charged and arrested for allegedly hitting an on-duty female police officer on the face with a kettle at a police station, while he was in custody. He has also been accused of encouraging mutiny by the military.
Tribal tensions are a new disorder in Zambia, where the mantra of a “One Zambia, One Nation” by founding president, Kenneth Kaunda (now late), established a precedent of stability and peace in the Southern African country.
There are over 70 tribes.
The Bemba ethnic group is the largest in Zambia and is believed to be around 36 percent of the nation’s population of 19 million people.
Hichilema is Tonga, who make up an estimated 15 percent of Zambia’s population.
– CAJ News