Causes of Lunda – Luvale conflict and why the problem still exists despite people trying to resolve it: a case of North-western province of Zambia.

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Kamalata, Robert
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The University of Zambia
This study investigated the root causes and the continuation of ethnic conflicts between the Lunda and Luvale of North Western province of Zambia. The objectives of the study were to: establish how the Lunda and Luvale ethnic conflict can threaten and impact on Zambia’s internal stability; examine the extent the Lunda and Luvale ethnic conflict impact on the socio-economic activities of the communities involved; and to establish how the ethnic conflicts between the Lunda and Luvale of North Western province can be resolved. The study employed a case study design using the qualitative approach of data collection and analysis. The sample comprised 14 participants consisting of 2 Chiefs from each tribe, 4 Subjects from each tribe, 1 Missionary, District Chiefs Affairs Officer from North Western Province and 2 Church leaders (one from each tribe) from Christian Mission in Many Lands (CMML). Study participants were selected using purposive and snowball sampling techniques. The data were collected using semi-structured interviews and were analysed using the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method, by way of coding and categorisation of themes emerging from the data. The study revealed that the Lunda and Luvale ethnic conflict can threaten and impact on Zambia’s internal stability because it could bring about further division of the district, thus creating more problems as each district may have its own demand on the government. It was also reported that, because of the conflict, the district could remain divided; creating divisions in terms of who should go to which school or hospital. The study also revealed that the current inadequate representation in the government through courts, police, military and political parties hinders the progress of the country. In terms of the impact of conflicts between the Lunda and Luvale, the study findings revealed that it impacted on them negatively as some people had to leave their homes in search of peace, thereby leaving their homes and fields. They had to abandon all their activities and migrated to other districts. Others had their businesses and property destroyed by rival ethnic group. Overall, uncertainty looms large in the district. As to how this conflict could be resolved, the study revealed that it could be achieved through dialogue and mediation between the two conflicting tribes with the help of the government and other stakeholders interested in resolving conflicts. Arising from the above findings, the study recommended that: The central government should encourage and increase the capabilities of local governments for dealing with future ethnic conflicts within their territories through delegating its command and control to local governments and to watch for the existence of potential ethnic conflict carefully due to its domestic policies in local areas. The Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs could play a crucial role in this respectively.
Ethnic conflict.