President Lungu is facing increasing calls to either reign in or completely drop Patriotic Front firebrand Chishimba Kambwili over his continued tribalist comments.

PF party member Victor Kalesha has even written to the president, asking him to condemn Kambwili’s disgraceful comments.

“I want to beg the President who has the instruments of power to correct all the wrongs happening,” he said. “I want to request President Edgar Lungu to tame our college Kambwili against the words he is using against the Tonga.”

His comments came after Mr Kambwili embarked upon a tirade of tribalist remarks last weekend, making lurid remarks against the Tonga people.

At a PF meeting in Chilalabombwe, Kambwili said that Tonga people ‘belong to’ the opposition United Party for National Development and that they had no place in the Patriotic Front.

His comments have been further condemned by the civil society group Copperbelt Advocates for Justice and Peace, who have insisted that Kambwili’s attempts to divide the country along tribal lines will not work.

“These are just desperate attempts. We know what the man is going through and he wants to prove a point. But what he is proving is very wrong and evil. Kambwili should be stopped. It does not help for him to divide the country, in an effort to escape jail,” said the group’s executive director Abraham Phiri.

In response to Mr Kambwili’s comments the UPND Alliance have called for his arrest, saying his behaviour is in violation of the electoral code of conduct.

“Inciting tribal hatred against anyone for the purpose of an election is a criminal offence that carries a prison sentence of one year. What the Patriotic Front are doing through the horrible sentiments coming from Chishimba Kambwili is not only unfair, but is tribal… and it is against the law,” said UPND Alliance media director Thabo Kawana.

However, President Lungu seems prepared to stick by his man, even in the face of overwhelming criticism. Yesterday the media director of Kambwili’s former party, the National Democratic Congress, was arrested by police in Luanshya for urging the president to drop his former minister.

According the NDC’s media department, Emmanuel Malite told the president: “please I am appealing to you, withdraw Chishimba Kambwili from campaigning for you and the PF, he has gone on a rampage crusade of tribal remarks.”

Malite’s arrest follows a damning report from human rights group Amnesty International, which has accused President Lungu’s government of instigating an “increasingly brutal crackdown on human rights” over the past five years. The report highlighted the arbitrary arrest of opposition figures as one of the main concerns leading into August’s elections.


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