The Chief Executive Officer of Bukalo Village Council, Martin Limbo, sparked a storm of criticism after making shocking and disparaging remarks on social media about the Mafwe people, threatening to unleash a Rwanda-like genocide, as the world witnessed in 1994.
Zambezi remains a hotbed of tribalism and New Era understands a taskforce has been established to help narrow the divisions of hatred, particularly between the region’s two main ethnic groups, the Mafwe and Subia.
Responding to comments on his Facebook page, after initially referring to Masubia Chief Kisco Liswani III as “the paramount chief-in-waiting for the Zambezi Region”, Limbo unleashed a tribal tirade against particularly the Mafwe people, who reside under Chief George Simasiku Mamili.
This post went viral and received serious attention from other people who criticised Limbo and characterised him as a tribalist. Critics said being head of the administration of Bukalo – a village which draws residents from various ethnic groups – Limbo should play a unifying role and must be seen to do just that.
In his Facebook comments Limbo lashed out at the Mbalangwe, who form part of the Mafwe ethnic group. He tried to draw comparisons between his remarks and those of Linyanti Constituency Councillor Cletius Sipapela, who in an audio clip recorded on November 4, 2016, was heard lecturing Mafwe youth in Swapo to loathe and plot against other ethnic groups, particularly the Masubia.
Limbo said: “When Sipapela insulted all Subias, including me and my late parents and the chief, no Mafwe commented and suddenly when I call our chief a paramount it’s suddenly an issue. The hate these @&*#Mafwes have against us is inconsolable and malicious.”
Limbo further accused the Mafwe of secessionism and that they are all behind exiled secessionist leader Mishake Muyongo and furthermore that they have never done anything for the good of the country.
“Tell me, is there anything a Mbalangwe has done that went in the records of this country and authenticated as success, except for tribalism and dreaming to go to Dukwi refugee camp after stealing a cellphone, and joining Swapo with an idea of ‘if I can’t win them let me join them’ and what we call [the] politics of eating in the name of Swapo?” he further asked.
He called them “myopic idiots” and claimed there will never be peace between the two tribes. “Call it tribalism, I don’t care or give a f**k,” he wrote, adding another unprintable phrase that may be considered genocidal in nature.
Limbo further alleged that most of the Mafwe people were supporters of the DTA when Muyongo was its leader and that they are political chameleons, who only joined Swapo after hunger took its toll.
Limbo further said all those who fled to Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana between 1999 and 2000 were from the Mafwe tribe and “there was no Subia who joined them.”
According to Limbo, the secessionist plot of August 2, 1999 was instigated by the Mbalangwes, joined by few confused Mafwe who wanted to take control of the then Caprivi strip “with the aim to “kill all Subias and then remain in the strip alone.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Limbo claimed his comments were taken out of context and politicised by some individuals.
“If I praise my chief that he is paramount, why should someone make up a story that it is tribal? I never said he is paramount for anyone, he is my paramount. People started posting and I posted how I feel. A lot of leaders have done that in this region, insulting my tribe why was it not newsworthy?” he questioned.
When alerted to his prominence in the region and Bukalo by virtue of position as CEO of the village council, Limbo said his views were expressed in a personal capacity and should, therefore, not affect his job.
“I never mentioned that I am CEO of Bukalo when I posted and I never used any council property when I posted. I used my own private cellphone and I was in my private capacity. I was not on duty, so it cannot tarnish my position,” he told New Era.
Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu, who on several occasions called on Zambezi residents to oppose tribalism, said he has not yet seen Limbo’s posts, but said he would soon convene a press briefing to address tribalism in the Zambezi Region in general.