As much as you may not like me, I am your President, President Edgar Lungu told Southern Province chiefs during a meeting at David Livingstone Hotel yesterday.
President Lungu, who is in Livingstone to officiate at the on-going International Conference on Artisanal and Small-scale Mining and Quarrying, met traditional leaders in the Province shortly after he landed at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Airport.
During the meeting, a representative of the chiefs assured him that not all traditional leaders in the south hated him.
“Your Excellency, we just want to let you know that in Southern Province, it is not every Chiefs who doesn’t like you. We are here to support you and we are here to support the government of the day. We want to work with you, we don’t want to be left behind. We appreciate the works that you are doing in this country. We have a lot in our chest your Excellency, but because of time, we would like to you Your excellency that maybe you can give us time to come and visit you at State House. With these few words, I say thank you,” said the Chiefs’ representative.
But President Lungu said he did not mind whether or not some traditional leaders hated him because his core mandate was to fulfill the promises his party made to the people of Zambia.
“All I can say is that I am happy you have welcomed here and you are willing to work with me, I am your child. Even as much as you may not like me, I am your President,” President Lungu said.
“So really we have to work together and I recognise your authority. Those who don’t like me and don’t want to work with me… what can I do? We have a duty to provide services to the people of this Republic in North, South, East, West and wherever they may be. That’s our duty, so I don’t take to heart the fact that some people accept me, some traditional leaders don’t want to work with me. I have a duty to reach out to reach out to the people. If I can reach out to the people through the chiefs, well and good. But if the chiefs ignore me, I will still find a way to get to the people because the people are the ultimate and that’s why we are there.”
President Lungu told the traditional leaders that not everyone liked them as well.
“So don’t worry, we will also take time with the minister so that we go through the tabulations of the issues you would have loved to us discuss but we are not able to due to time. Then as we get to the future we can arrange a meeting in Lusaka. You can come through quietly, we chat so that we see where we are in terms of service delivery. Even yourselves Royal Highnesses, it’s not everyone in the village who accepts that you should be there. But you still provide service to them and attend to their needs because that’s what it is and I am not alone in terms of being liked or not liked, we are all in the same footing ‘no that’s not the right chief, he’s not a good chief’ and so on. But you are there, you just put all these things behind you and attend to the needs of the people, and that’s what I have learnt to do. So don’t worry about me, don’t worry about all this. I am your son and I am here to do what the Zambian people appointed me to do, which is providing leadership. So thank you very much,” said President Lungu.