Chiefs minister Lawrence Sichalwe says Southern Province chiefs have not been removed from government payroll but sometimes there are administrative challenges which arise leading to particular chiefs not receiving their subsidies.
Last week Thursday, Katomabora UPND member of parliament Derrick Livune rose on a point of order wanting to know why Chiefs Mukuni, Hamusonde and Mwanachingwala of Southern Province had been excluded from government payroll without cause.
“Mr Speaker, I stand on very serious point of order on the honourable Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs who is here seated comfortably. Mr Speaker, some chiefs from the Southern Province have been excluded from the payroll of the government of the Republic of Zambia without cause. I have in mind my Chief in Kazungula, Chief Mukuni, Chief Hamusonde of Bweengwa and Chief Mwanachingwala of Mazabuka. Is the honorable Minister in order to have excluded our chiefs from the payroll when he knows too well that they fully entitled for the money paid by we their children? I seek your serious ruling Sir,” said Livule.
Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini instructed Sichalwe to clarify the matter in a ministerial statement.
The House heard this morning that government experiences some administrative challenges in the disbursement of the subsidies to Chiefs.
“Madam Speaker, I wish to clarify as follows, all the Chiefs from Southern Province including Chief Mukuni of Kazungula, Chief Hamusonde of Bweengwa and Chief Mwanachingwala of Mazabuka are on the government payroll for receipt of subsidies, none of them has been excluded from the payroll. Madam Speaker, there are however situations where administrative challenges may arise leading to particular Chief or Chiefs not receiving subsidies in a particular month or months. When this situation arises, my ministry investigates the case and addresses it appropriately, Madam Speaker I thank you,” Sichale said.
But Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili insisted in a follow up question that the information of the three chiefs being excluded was in public domain and that the reason for their exclusion was because they did not invite government to their traditional ceremonies.
“There is an issue is in public domain concerning some traditional ceremonies and inviting government to their traditional ceremonies, can you be specific minister, is this the reason why you refuse to give them their subsidies? Be straight minister. I thank you,” said Kamwbili.
But in response, Sichalwe said there was no relationship between the chiefs’ failure to invite government to their ceremonies and them not receiving subsidies.
“Madam Speaker, it is strange that the honourable member who should know very well to say that government does not have to be invited to a traditional ceremony and going forward, these subsidies…the honourable member may wish to know that they are not salaries therefore we will not have an exact date on which to pay. These subsidies are meant to assist the various chiefs to run the affairs of the chiefdom and the chiefs are agents of governments and this is the more reason they are paid these subsidies. So going forward, I would not want to speculate the relationship between chiefs in the South not being paid and the issue of government not attending their ceremonies. I thank you,” said Sichalwe.